Abundant, Not Deprived

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ (Matthew 25:19-21 NLT)

Some days I feel a lot like this servant, and I thrill for the praise of the Master.

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ (Matthew 25:24, 25 NLT)

Too many days I feel like this servant, burying my gifts in the ground out of fear. What if I try and fail? What if the risk is too great? Yes, Lord, You gave me the gift, but what if….?

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. (Matthew 25:29 NLT)

I want to be abundant, not deprived.

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Getting Fed

For several years, Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago has hosted an event known as The Global Leadership Summit, bringing together a diverse collection of leaders from business, churches and NGOs for 2 days of learning and worship. If you’ve never been before I highly recommend it. Satellite locations around the country and around the world simulcast the event. This will be my 3rd year to attend and I always come away fed & refreshed.

This year’s Summit is August 9 and 10. Click here to learn more: http://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/.

Give Them This Responsibility

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.”

These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. (Acts 6:1-3, 6-7 NLT)

In every work or ministry setting there are plenty of tasks to go around, and more roles that need to be filled than the boss and/or senior leadership team can fill alone. Don’t try to do it all yourself – delegate tasks out to people gifted in those areas. When people are engaged in work they enjoy, everyone benefits…people are growing in their roles, work is of a higher quality and the beneficiaries of the work notice and appreciate it. In this example it was far superior to have some new & gifted leaders doing work with excellence than to have the senior team doing it just so the work would get done.

This may be one of the earliest historical examples of the cross-functional team. It’s likely the 7 men chosen had complimentary skills that allowed them to work effectively together, as opposed to each one carrying the same basic skill set. You’ve got to know the strengths & passions of your team members in order to maximize their potential, allowing them to be put in positions to be stretched in their career paths and successful in their work.

And so what we see is that the early Church grew because:

1) The apostles’ finite time could be spent on what they were commissioned to do – preaching the good news about Jesus
2) The local community was attracted to the Church because people’s needs were being met (without having to rely on their Roman oppressors)
3) Individual people could flourish according to their gifts, as opposed to cultural or societal expectations

That sounds like a pretty solid organization.

Celebrate Freedom

It’s easy to take for granted everything that we enjoy every day of our lives, and easy to forget that millions of people around the world envy our freedoms. I hope you take some time this week to reflect upon and celebrate those freedoms, and the mighty battles that were fought to secure and protect them.