I am delighted to hear of the careful and orderly ways you conduct your affairs, and impressed with the solid substance of your faith in Christ.
God is not a God of disorder. I, however, am often disorderly. In extreme situations, I could blame it on God for making me a disorderly person, or explain it as creativity or spontaneity. No matter what my excuses may be, disorder dilutes the deposits of God. It pokes holes in the wine barrel, it makes the balance sheet leak, and it drains impact.
There are many things that eat away at order, but I will focus on just a handful:
We live in a world with loads of information, mounds of data, and many, many choices. Are we so bombarded with short bursts of information that our grid for sifting the important from the mundane gets shredded, let alone clogged? Does this dull us to the key inflection points in life?
And, to compound matters, we are spoiled for choice. We can educate ourselves through social media, free classes online, access to interesting topics and the best minds on podcasts, and more. Daily we make choices about what to bring into our lives and feel we are the masters of our own destiny. Good choices get easily infiltrated by reels and memes and clickbait, the junk food of our inner life. If we don’t recognize the difference between an everyday decision and an inflection point we will be so satiated by junk food that we miss the big meals of life. Putting it another way, if we treat inflection points as we treat routine decisions, we will fail to take strategic advantage of them.
Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ.
Colossians 4:2,3 (The Message)
Be “watchful.” We don’t use the word every day in our speech, so it is worth meditating on “watchful.” If you were heading out on a military assignment and were instructed to “be watchful” you would ask your commander what you should be looking for. First, I do not think that Paul is advocating a frenzy of paranoia.
“Always be watchful and thankful.” Watchfulness is about good things and potentially bad things. “Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.” I believe that while we need to be alert for both good and bad, coupling alertness with thankfulness affirms the sovereignty of God. We should also be alert to internal and external factors too. Perhaps the greatest internal hazard for the household of God is...
and delight to see how orderly you are
Order is a sign of wholeness and maturity. It is present in the lives of the mature believer, and the mature business. There is a huge difference between control, in a negative sense, and order. Too often we avoid order because we don’t want to be “control freaks” or process police. My contention is that we know instinctively when something is out of order, and we usually don’t like it.
I was flying back from a Venture and reflected on those clients who made cohesive, clear presentations, and those who were somewhat chaotic. A strong discontent against the disorder that is symptomatic of Satan’s plan to “steal, kill and destroy” rose within my spirit. God has plans for our lives and organizations, and we let them get thwarted by chaos, be it internal or external.
To appreciate and nurture order, we need to acknowledge certain truths:
as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope
1 Thessalonians 1:3
I get tired of people questioning the motives of businesspeople. Those who do so assume that the only thing on the mind of a businessperson is the bottom line. While it is true that businesses need profits to be viable, this critique of businesspeople is ill-informed; it is also not Biblical, because “love expects the best.” Paul, on the other hand, thanks God for the Thessalonians’ “work of faith,” and acknowledges that the motive for doing that work was love… your “labor of love.” You know that work is tough. Scripture doesn’t present just a portion of the picture to us: there are three parts to this equation—work, labor, and patience. You may have determined to work by faith, surrendering your business or career to God, and daily drawing on him for help. The next thing that happens is kopos which is defined as:...
As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. Luke 19:36
I meet well-meaning business people who give their businesses to Jesus and then enter a passive mode. “Whatever he wants to happen will happen. I’ve given it to God.” They surrender the donkey, then trail behind it, rather than going ahead. In this passage, however, the good spot to be was in front of the donkey, not behind it. Luke tells the story of Jesus sending his disciples to get the colt needed for the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. When Jesus took over the use of this business asset—the donkey—it was surrendered to him by the owner. He then put it to a new use. It seems that events began with two things: an action by the apostles, and surrender by the business leader. Thereafter it includes a series of proactive steps that are anything but passive. What could this mean to the business owner?
If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Hebrews 11:15
Over the past decade, I have had the opportunity to work closely with hundreds of business people and speak with many more. Many have had exposure to a kingdom way of doing business: they have seen, they have tasted, and they have documented what it might look like in their business. None of this guarantees that they will shift to the kingdom way of doing business. We do not receive the kingdom by observation but by obedience. We do not obtain a country by planning a journey, but by moving into it one step at a time. Some have come to the border of Biblical Business and have returned to their old ways. Why?
Well, it seems a little easier to avoid returning to Ur or Egypt than it does to avoid going back to “business as usual.” One is a tangible place, the other is not. Second, we encourage people to stay in the marketplace and not abandon it,...
I think of you through the watches of the night. Psalm 63:6
Has it ever struck you that what we think about at night is an indicator of who we are? Somehow the night has a knack of stripping away bravado, tearing the pajamas off false confidences. It leaves our minds naked and, when our clever defenses are asleep, our true thoughts emerge. When we let the sun go down on our unresolved items, they become poking sticks in the hands of the night watchmen. That’s the bad news.
The good news is this: God is not sleeping while we sleep. He is active on our behalf, and sometimes he is active in our minds, our spirits, and our hearts even as we sleep. He gives us dreams that speak warning or encouragement to us. He uses the symbolism of things to steel us against danger, distractions, or discouragement.
God also inhabits our waking moments with solutions to problems. I used to wake up and go from 0 to 60 mph in a few seconds; now I try to lie in bed a few extra moments,...
Holding to the truth when error screams in your face.
Outrage seems to be the language of the day. If you say something with enough force, many emojis (since you are too lazy to find real words), and an abundance of bandwagon hashtags, your cause de jour may trend. Copy and paste, retweet, and forward… you can start a movement.
Back in the day when email was a new invention someone dubbed it as “spreading darkness at the speed of light.” This is even more true today when spontaneous beats are thoughtful. Speaking of spontaneous, have you signed up for BeReal yet? (Most of you haven’t… I know since I only have one friend on the app… and he doesn’t respond. It works by sending users a simultaneous once-a-day push notification declaring it is “time to BeReal”. A two-minute timer counts down; users must let the app take a picture with their smartphone camera and then upload it to BeReal.) But I digress.
Two weeks ago...
I came across an interesting verse in Ecclesiastes 7. I had to look in several translations to find that which mapped most closely to a literal translation, and here it is from The Message.
“Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money, especially if you get both while you’re still living. Double protection: wisdom and wealth! Plus this bonus: Wisdom energizes its owner.”
Young’s Literal Translation says, And the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom [is], She reviveth her possessors. You might be saying, “Give me the money and then I will be energized; when I have money, I will be revived.” But it doesn’t work that way in the long run. Without God, the more you have, the more you have to lose; the more you have to lose, the more you fear; the more you fear, the less energized you are. Money without wisdom is not necessarily life-giving. The counter-principle says, “If I have it and share it I’ll have...