Currently, the football (soccer) world was taken by storm by an unheralded Leicester team that won through an emphatic season. Their was no stand out stars although certain names began to emerge. Similar to Greece in 2004 when they won the Euros with a group of players that were unknown to a wider audience. This is unusual, most teams will have a player who is considered a star and if the team is fortunate, they will have a number of stars (cf Real Madrid and their Galacticos).
However, it should be remembered that in team sports, a star player cannot win on their own. Think Pele with Brazil, Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant with the Lakers. None of these celebrity players could have won on their own – they needed a team around them, most of whom remain forgotten in the mists of time but were essential to the success of the team.
So it is with Church. There are many who would choose to be the Apostle Paul (yet shy away from the persecution and suffering), yet even Paul needed his support people. Many would like to be the author of a great book, new course, on the platform at the global conferences etc. etc. but we cannot ever lose sight of the community of faith. We are all called to play our part and to engage with the mission. Not all of us will receive the credit, praise or be given a platform but all of us are called to love one another, seek each others best interest and to honour the name of God.
Let’s serve the team and be humble enough to accept our place within it. Lets be satisfied to be the Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, Brian Shaw, or Wilson Piazza on our team.
Have you ever wondered why people do the things they do? Tell me, why do some people;
- phone me to ask if I have read their email? – just do one or the other, not both, you are duplicating workload.
- leave a phone message to ask me to call back when they could just leave a better message? – this is just lazy and adding unnecessarily to workload
- read their presentation directly from notes and give you the handout? – just give me the handout. If you do a presentation then add life to the written page.
- pay for a gym membership to do step training, yet do not walk up escalators? – one is free, the other extortionate
- attend a concert, make a poor recording on their phone and then buy a professional recording to watch? – ignore the poor recording and engage in the concert
There are many, many more but these were the first few that came to mind. What would you add to the list?
For many of us, we run from our fears and seek to avoid them. What if we chose a different route and move towards them instead? Where would we discover the greatest growth?
Perhaps we need to look at things in a different way, take up courage and move in a different direction.
we are wrong and those we oppose are right?
we have made the mistake and not the other person?
we have caused the problem and not our friend?
we did not respond well and their response was because of me?
we are creating greater problems and not resolving them like we believe?
we are talking at others and not listening as we perceive?
we don’t have the whole picture and just a part?
we are giving answers to questions that are not being asked?
we need to change?
Yes, what if…..?
A little like Alice in wonderland, who did not know what road to take, we still haven’t found what we are looking for because we are not entirely sure what it is we are wanting.
So often we can begin the search for something without doing the necessary preparatory work. We are not sure what we want but will ‘know when we find it’……often this means that those nuggets of gold are missed because they are wrapped in a different veneer or are different to what we perceive. Searching without thought will take longer, will have many more hurdles and will frustrate others, yet we keep on searching knowing that once in a while, as we roll the dice, the sixes will come. The search is more luck than judgement.
Searching with the right preparation may save untold time, heartache and frustration. It may also mean that you are more successful because you have spent some time working out what is really wanted in the first place. Preparation time is never wasted….often it is a time saver. Keep looking but look with purpose, with reason and with ideas in mind…..searching may then become a little easier.
Braveheart is not the most historically accurate of films but there are a few moments within it that provide some great story telling that make sense beyond the story. Most people pick the speeches but there are some other key moments for me, primarily centred around the battle at Falkirk, in the last hour of the film.
The strategy was set, the first part went to plan – then at the moment for the Scottish clans to engage, they rode away. Wallace looked downbeat but not beaten – despite treachery there were many more still fighting the cause. Wallace then follows the English king as he rides away to be stopped by a masked knight – the knight was his ‘friend’, ally and supposed supporter – the fight left Wallace distraught and he collapsed. Betrayed again. His allies were not trustworthy – in modern terms they talked the walk but did not walk it. A man cannot fight alone – success needs team – Wallace realised that his team was not all that he had been promised.
However, in the midst of it all – a single Irishman. He did not fit the mould, he was feisty, eccentric and quirky – but loyal, faithful and a man who went went beyond the call of duty. Earlier in the film, he saved Wallace life on a hunting trip, here he had ridden after him and carried him from the battlefield. A man who understood what was needed, what was required and answered it to the full.
Story at its best – Wallace had the strategy but the culture around him was not as supportive as it should have been. Culture always wins over strategy and in this story it demonstrated that brilliant strategy was not enough.
“Previous journeys in search of treasure have taught me that a zigzag strategy is the best way to get ahead.” Tahir Shah
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but seeing with new eyes.
” Marcel Proust
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“Every choice you make has a result”. There is a consequence. It is the natural order of things. You can trace things back from the result to the actions to the choice.
” Zig Ziglar
“Do not worry about holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role.
“Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” Jon Bon Jovi
“Only he who keeps his eye on the far horizon will find the right road.” Dag Hammarskjöld
“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Okakura Kakuzo
There are so many discussions/arguments amongst folk at present on ‘gospel ministry’, ‘mercy ministry’, ‘good works’ etc. etc. etc. To call it a battle ground would be to give these discussions too much credit but they are having an impact on the work of the Church and its people, particularly in respect to its evangelistic endeavours. Much of the debate seems to centre on De Young and Gilberts book, What is the Mission of the Church? which has drawn a position that ‘mercy ministry’ is something we may do rather than what we must do – it is not an equal partner with evangelism and disciple making.
Whilst I understand this viewpoint, I see things in a slightly different way. My hand gets cold in winter and so I wear a glove……if I didn’t, I may get frostbite and then my hand would not function well, the glove enables me to maintain health and to function well. The glove on its own is very nice but remains a glove. So it is with ‘mercy ministry’ – anyone can do it, you don’t need to be a Christian, but when the church engages with it – everything begins to function as it ought and people then begin to see Christ and the Church as it was intended. My conservative evangelical friends will say that I am being oversimplistic but my reading of the Scriptures forces me to share the gospel in word and deed, in every situation and as Luther said;
“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbour”.
“People don’t buy newspapers. They buy news. It isn’t glasses that are purchased; it’s better vision. Women who spend big bucks for cosmetics are really trying to buy good looks. Millions of drills have been sold; yet not a single person wanted one. They are buying holes. Diet books are not sold by publicizing the evils and risks of being overweight; they’re sold by ads depicting how attractive one can become by shedding a few pounds. Athletes do not go through the agony of practice and training to avoid losing; they do it to make the team and be a winner. Appealing to a higher vision is simply helping others become not only what they are capable of becoming, but what they really want to become.” John Maxwell
What is our higher vision? On whom are our eyes fixed?
Some wisdom works in every scenario – for parents, youth leaders, managers, bosses, vicars, in fact, for anyone! One of those pieces of wisdom is from Ken Blanchard;
“Catch people doing things right“
Just a simple thing but so important. We live in a society were we love to find the mistakes, pinpoint failure and highlight error, yet one of the most important things we can do for another individual is to catch them doing something right. This is more than faint praise or general thank yous’ but a specific ‘well done’.
Can you think of a time when you were thanked, encouraged or praised for doing something right? How did it make you feel? Imagine if we escalated this and used our time to do the positive work before the negative, what a difference it may make in the lives of others.
Let’s start catching people out by catching them doing things right and see what transpires.