Is Some Sin Unavoidable?

I was raised to believe in free will. I was taught that God gives us complete and total choice in our actions and behavior – therefore no sin is unavoidable, right? Well, evidently this is not completely true. It appears that there is unavoidable sin.


Unavoidable Sin

According to Proverbs 10:19, this unavoidable sin comes into play when we talk too much. Take a look at the verse and see what you think:

When there are many words, sin is unavoidable,
but the one who controls his lips is wise.

The way I read this verse, some sin is unavoidable. At the same time, I think this is really more about timing. If you think about it, the author is saying sin becomes unavoidable WHEN there are many words.

9 Simple Hacks For Better Leadership Perspective

Warning: when anyone tells you something is simple, don’t assume it is easy! There is a big difference! I have 9 “simple” (not easy) hacks for anyone that is committed to seeing themselves more clearly for the purpose of being a better leader. Gaining perspective in these ways is not complicated, but neither is it easy. You are warned!


Coaching Perspective

In his devotional book, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge, former professional football coach Tony Dungy describes how coaches watch a lot of game films to critique past execution and develop future strategy. In doing so, he always made sure he was watching the game film that had been recorded by two different cameras – one set at a mid point on the sidelines of the field and the other between the goalposts at the end of the field.

He described how the goalpost camera had some advantages, but would not allow him to see yardage gained or lost like the sideline camera would. The sideline camera also had advantages, but would not give perspective on the spacing of his players like the goal post camera would. With only one perspective or the other, too much information is missing. True performance assessment is impossible and good decisions cannot be made without both perspectives.

Leadership Perspective

The same is true about you and me as leaders. Quite simply, we must not trust our own perspective as our only gauge of our performance or effectiveness. There is just too much missing from our perspective to rely on it as our only source. Instead, we must seek out other perspectives if we want a clear, honest picture.

Below, I have listed nine different ways that you and I can gain perspective on how well we are (or are not) doing as leaders in our homes, businesses, and communities. None of these “hacks” are fool-proof. None give the entire picture. None can be relied upon by themselves.

Just like the multi-camera game films, we need a minimum of two or three of these views if we want any semblance of the truth! Take a look at each and determine which will work best for you.

Simple, Not Easy

Keep in mind, you may not like what you hear from some of them. In some cases, you will need to face feedback that is difficult to hear. In other cases, you may need to exclude feedback that may be contaminated with less-than-pure motives. You have to be the judge of which is which…or you could get some help with that as well!

#1 – Coach or Mentor

A coach or mentor is someone likely older than you that has more experience and wisdom than you in certain areas. You meet regularly with them on certain topics and pick their brain, learning from their wisdom.

If set up correctly, this relationship will bring to the surface some areas where you need to improve. If you are willing to be open to this person, you can get great perspective and advice from them. Finding the right person(s) for this relationship can be tough. Accepting what they say might be tougher!

#2 – Accountability partner

This person is likely closer in age (though its not necessary) and might be in a similar stage of life as you are. Meeting on a regular basis, you share victories and struggles. You hold each other accountable to commitments you have made together.

Again, openness and transparency with this person is the key. If you give them permission to call you out on anything they see, you gain the most perspective. This is the only way you max your odds of growing as a result of this relationship!

#3 – Peer Group

These groups are usually centered around a common theme. Some are based on age of children. Others are business-based. Small Bible study groups also fall into this category.

In the regular meetings, everyone shares what they are learning and how they are struggling. Through this process, members get to know each other well and are able to give each other perspective that can’t be found elsewhere.

#4 – Employee survey

Unlike the first three hacks, an employee survey is more likely something you would do once every 6-12 months, depending on the need at the time. Spend time on the questions and make sure you include some that get to the heart of the perspective you are seeking.

Sure, some of the results might not be dead-on, but you should gain perspective from the overall results and the trends over several iterations of the survey. Tip: don’t completely ignore the outlier results. Dig to determine whether or not there is something in your leadership that is helping to create the feelings represented.

To Be Continued!

Once again, I have run out of room in this post! Rather than making it one that you stop reading due to its length, I have broken it into two posts. In my next post, I will go over the remaining five hacks for better leadership perspective. I hope you are eager to see what they are!

Are you currently using some of these hacks?

Do you value the additional perspective you gain from them?

Do you lack the perspective you need? How will you change this?

Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About Christian Business!

I get many opportunities to talk to other Christians that own or operate a business. When I try to explain to them why they should be using their business to impact people for eternity, I sometimes get a blank stare. They often ask me questions that indicate they have significant misconceptions about Christian business. Today, I want to dispel 5 of the most common myths I have encountered regarding Christian business.


Misconceptions Galore!

The problem is that many people, even Christians, misunderstand what the Bible says about being a Christian. This is even more true when it comes to being a Christian in the business world.

As a result, they often associate Christianity with weakness, laziness, and blind faith. If you have been in business for any length of time, you know these qualities don’t add up to business success. So when I explain my efforts to run a Christian business, the response is not always very positive!

Let’s take a look at the 5 most common myths you might encounter or even believe yourself. Once we dispel these, I think you might have a much better picture of what your business should look like (and what it shouldn’t look like!).

Myth #1 – Christian Businesses should hire anyone!

This is a very common myth and it is rooted in the desire to be kind and fair to everyone. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you, right? While that last statement is true, it does not equate to a wide open hiring policy!

First of all, it is not fair to the applicant to hire them if they are not a good fit for the job. They will never get fulfillment from a job that does not fit them. By not hiring this applicant, you will “help” them move on to find the job that IS a fit for them. You may even choose to assist them in this search if you see enough potential in them.

Not only is it not fair to the applicant, it is not fair to the other current employees to make them work with someone that does not fit the job. This will only increase their load and cause other issues. Of course, the final damage is to the business itself. It is tough enough to run an efficient business without having to work around those not fit or qualified for their jobs.

Myth #2 – Christian businesses should say yes to any request!

I cannot specifically say where this myth originates, but it certainly exists. Sometimes you get a local sports team looking for a sponsorship. In other cases it is a customer looking for an excessive amount of free products or services. You will even have employees ask for difficult exceptions to company policies.

I certainly believe we should try to accommodate requests to the extent that we can and when it makes good business sense. Sometimes, we might do it even when it does not make business sense (but we know it is the right thing to do at the time)! However, for us to say yes to (virtually) every request is impossible.

There are times when the only wise answer is, “No.” A Christian business owner must accept this and not let guilt take over. Jesus did not say yes to every request. Neither should we. Do the best you can, but don’t fall prey to this myth!

To Be Continued!

I have run out of room for today, but will finish with the last three myths about Christian business in my next post. I hope these have been helpful to you.

Have you believed either of these myths?

Do you see how accepting these myths as truth can limit (or destroy) your business?

What are some other myths you have encountered?

Would Your Community Miss You?

We recently hired some new employees in the sales department. As part of their orientation, I spent a couple of hours talking with them about the history and philosophy of our business. Of course, I went into detail about our Mission Statement, Core Values, and Vision Statement. In doing so, I tried to give them a clear picture of the vital part we believe we play in our community.


Community Is Crucial

I don’t know about other companies, but we see our community as a crucial part of the answer to the question, “Why does this business exist?” You probably already know this, but this question is the one you are answering when you create your company’s mission statement. For us, this question also influences our core values and our vision statement as well.

See, we believe we are simply stewards of this business and that God is the actual owner. As a result of this belief, we see our roles as running the business in a way that brings honor to Him and impacts others for eternity, pointing them to Him. For our family, that is why our business exists.

When looking at the purpose of the business through this lens, it becomes clear that our community is a huge part of our mission. No, we are not a church and could not fill that role if we wanted to. However, we still feel our business practices and our involvement in the community can impact everyone around us in a way that leads them to Him.

Execution Will Be Different

The execution of this kind of mission will be different for one business than it will for another. A business with 10 or fewer employees will carry out this mission differently than one with 100 employees. A service business may approach this from a completely opposite angle than a manufacturing business. The “How” is not as important.

What is important is that we strive as Christian business owners to make our businesses such a vital part of the community that we would be sorely missed if we were to disappear. Can you imagine what that would look like? Is your business already there? Even if so, can you now relax?

Pray For Wisdom

If this is new to you, then I encourage you to stop and pray about it. Ask God to show you how to start down this path. Ask Him to give you insights as to how you can leverage the influence of your business to bring Him honor. Pray for wisdom in starting down this path.

If this is not new to you, then I would suggest you stop and take an inventory of what your business is doing to accomplish this mission. Is there more you could do? Are there new and creative ways you could impact the community and earn customer loyalty at the same time? Have you asked your employees for ideas? How are they involved?

In my next post, I will describe for you an example of how our business attempts to do this in our community. We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but maybe our idea will spark something with you that will turn into a successful effort. Until then, take some time to brainstorm this.

What are some ways your business impacts your community?

Does your community recognize your business as one involved in the community?

What would your community miss the most if your business were to disappear?

More Advice From Proverbs 31

I love how the Bible is so deep and applicable in various situations. If we will just take the time to read and study it, we will certainly be able to apply it to our lives, regardless of our circumstances. An example is Proverbs 31 [Read HERE] which is normally taught to wives and mothers as the pattern to follow. We will apply it to husbands and fathers today!

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 Advice

In my last post, I pointed out two pieces of advice we can pull from Proverbs 31. First, we looked at how verse 11 guides us to trust in our wives rather than withholding that trust to maintain control. We also noted how this advice can serve us well in the workplace.

In verse 23, we see that it is our responsibility as husbands and fathers to act in such a way as to earn the respect of those in our community over time. Our wives need to know that they can rely on this kind of behavior from us. Our employees and co-workers want the same consistency from us!

For today, I want to look at two more verses from Proverbs 31 that give us clear advice as husbands and fathers. In each case, we are able to apply this advice to our lives at home and at work. I pray you will do both!

Praise Her

Her husband also praises her:
“Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!”
Proverbs 31:28-29

Part of this advice to us husbands and fathers looks fairly obvious. We are to praise our wives. While it is simple, do you do it? Regularly? If so, give yourself a pat on the back! If not, why not?

Regardless of how close your wife comes to the pattern described in Proverbs 31, you must find those things she does well and you must praise her for those actions! Look for the good she does and recognize her for it. If you have children, then praise her in front of your children! they need to recognize all she does as well.

This same idea works for your employees or co-workers. Find the good they do and praise them for it. Don’t get stuck in the lie that praise will ruin them and spoil them. Praise them for their progress and watch that progress grow!

Subtle Aspect Of Praise

Don’t miss the part that is not so obvious. When the husband praises her in this verse, he says that she surpasses all of the other women. Do you think that is 100% accurate, that she is better than every other woman at all she does? I think it is unlikely.

However, his praise in this manner lets her know that in his eyes, the only ones that matter, she surpasses all the others. He lets her know that his eyes are only on her and that she is the only one he sees!

With employees, they need to hear something similar in that they need to know we still believe in them. They need to know that we are committed to them and that we are not looking elsewhere for their replacement every time they miss a target or make a mistake. Praise them in this way.

Give Her The Reward

Give her the reward of her labor,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
Proverbs 31:31

Once again, part of this is obvious and part is a little more subtle. The obvious advice is that we are to reward our wives for the work they do. We are to reward them in ways that are specific to them. This is not a one size fits all kind of reward.

We need to get creative here and reward her in ways that communicate our appreciation for her commitment. This is not a once-a-year vase of flowers on Mother’s Day or her birthday. This kind of reward should be random, unexpected, and creative. It should reflect thought and planning, not just a last minute Hallmark card.

Our employees should get the very same treatment. They should be compensated in such a way that is equal to the work they do. But we should also work at rewarding them in other small ways in order to show them our appreciation for what they do. Again, these rewards are not the same for everyone, but they should happen in some way for everyone at one time or another.

Spread The Praise

The more subtle advice in this verse comes from the last part of the sentence…”let her works praise her at the city gates.” What in the world does that mean? I will say that I am not positive, but I do have an opinion. Until I hear a better explanation, I am sticking to my own!

Think about it this way. How do those at the city gates find out about her works? Some of her works may spread by word of mouth from the marketplace, but I think it should come from us! If we husbands and fathers are the ones at the city gates, then we should be talking about how great our wives are. We should be praising them behind their backs!

Why not? Just because it is the cultural norm for husbands to talk down about the “old ball and chain” or their “old lady” in ways that make the wives out to be tyrants, does that mean we should do the same? NO! We should be singing their praises to those around us. Just imagine the swelling of their hearts if they hear from someone else how we were praising them in a crowd, behind their back!

The same is still true for our employees and co-workers. Praising them to people outside of our workplace will only increase their commitment to our company when word gets back to them. Doing this same thing to their spouses or children even multiplies the effect! Just give it a try and see if I am right!

What other advice did you glean from Proverbs 31?

What changes do you need to make to heed this advice?

Do you see the value of Proverbs 31 advice, even in the workplace?

Dream Team For Falcons?

I want you to imagine for a moment that you are a fan of the Atlanta Falcons professional football team. You believe there is great hope in the upcoming season. You are intently following their offseason moves so you get a better idea of exactly HOW good the upcoming season will be. Then you see the following in the newspaper:


5 New Star Falcons!

Your first thoughts are full of excitement and you can’t wait to see the names of these new stars on the team. As you read through the article, your mood changes. In fact, it gets downright maddening as you see the details of the new players that have been signed.

Why are you frustrated? As it turns out, your favorite team has signed five of the best players in the league. While that SHOULD be a good thing, the truth is it is not. Unfortunately for you, all five of the “all-star” players that were signed are quarterbacks!

What Are They Thinking?

Granted, with a possible exception here or there, these are arguably the best five quarterbacks in the league right now. There is no question they are the best. The problem is that no team needs five quarterbacks! Of course, the Falcons’ ownership realizes this…

Which is why they are planning to play these new stars on the offensive line.

Seriously? You can’t believe your eyes! What are they thinking?

Diversity Is Necessary!

Obviously, this is fiction – don’t get too worked up! But clearly, there is a huge point here relating to business, churches, and any other organization. The point here is that diversity is a major benefit to an organization and the lack of it can be just as deadly.

Think about it. Too many people with the same skills and talents, the same perspectives and opinions, etc. can be a good thing if your only goal is harmony. You won’t likely have many arguments or confrontations this way, but do you really think you will be more effective this way?

The problem with this picture is that most organizations have a variety of jobs that need to be done. Each of these jobs require differing skill sets and talents. Just like a football team has different positions that require different body types, sizes, flexibility, and speed, your organization cannot be effective if everyone is just alike.

Good At One, Good At Another?

While the five quarterbacks mentioned above are likely among the best at the quarterback position, they are not nearly big enough or strong enough to play on the offensive line. Even if they are better at their position than the current offensive line is at theirs, that does not mean it is a good idea to put them in this position.

Yet, often we do this very thing in our businesses. We see someone that is good at sales and just assume she is also good at managing other people. So we promote her without considering that these two jobs require very different skills and abilities.

I am sure you can think of similar examples of this kind of behavior in your organization. I can promise you we have made this mistake more than once. In fact, I have been guilty of this myself – with my own job.

My Own Job!

For years, I have tried to do certain parts of my job even though I am not very skilled at these parts of the job. I did them because I knew they had to be done and felt I was the only one who could do them.

Fortunately, during a one-on-one coaching session, my C12 chairman told me that I was not at all good at these parts of my job! He did not mince words, but told me exactly what I needed to hear. I am so thankful for this kind of wisdom and accountability!

I Followed The Advice

As a result, I have been on a search for someone that IS skilled at these tasks. I am determined I am not going to continue making the same mistake because I know how much it is limiting the success of our company.

Sure, it is certainly humbling to realize that I am not able to do everything our organization needs out of my position. I would love nothing more than to be able to fill this role in a way that takes the company to new heights. At the same time, I realize that God did not wire me that way.

My gifts and talents are absolutely useful in our company, just not in the roles I have been playing. I am okay with that.

Example From Scripture

Just so we are sure these principles are true and not just my opinion, let’s take a look at Scripture that backs this up.

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:17-20

Can you see how this works in a business? This same principle that Paul describes as the body of Christ works for a business, non-profit organization, or any other group of people with a common purpose.

I would encourage you to look around your business (and in the mirror!) to see if you have the diversity of skills, perspectives, gifts, etc. that you need. If not, make a conscious effort to begin the process of correcting this problem. In my next post, we will look at how diversity may not be enough.

Mind Like Water Is Possible!

Several years ago, I found an audio book on the clearance rack at the local Staples office supply store. That book was called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and it revolutionized how I approach my work day. While I cannot go into the details of the whole program author David Allen proposes, I can tell you that there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from him as well.

mind like water

Mind Like Water

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a work-life management system that begins with a concept called “mind like water.” This idea is best understood by picturing a quiet pond where the water is perfectly still…not a ripple anywhere. When a rock is tossed into the pond, ripples are created in the water. Throw another rock in and more ripples appear.

If you throw enough rocks into the pond, one after another, then your quiet, still pond is a memory. In its place is rough water, waves and ripples crossing each other as they run from one side of the pond to the other. Do you get the picture?

Now, go back to the original picture of the quiet, calm pond. Your mind is like this water. Without constant inputs, it can be quiet and still. In this state, you can be more creative, more effective, have a sharper focus, etc. When your mind is calm like this pond, getting things done is so much easier. You know exactly what I am talking about!

Life Throws Rocks

Unfortunately, life throws rocks. Every time you are told about something you have to remember, a rock is tossed into your “pond.” When you a meeting is added to your schedule or a report is requested of you, more rocks are tossed in. Pretty soon, sometimes before you are finished with your first cup of coffee, your pond looks like the Atlantic.

Getting Things Done is a system that teaches you how to minimize the ripples from each rock and to get back to “mind like water” quicker (and stay there). I can vouch for its effectiveness as I have been using it for years. It is not simple, but once you get the hang of it, you will never go back!

Spiritual Mind Like Water

Folks, the cool thing is that this idea of “mind like water” also describes our spiritual life. Just think about how easy it is to worship God or pray for extended periods of time WHEN your mind looks like the quiet, still pond. Things seem easier then, right?

Unfortunately, as I have already said, life throws rocks! Sometimes you cannot get out of bed before the anxiety sets in and takes away any peace you thought you had. Whether these rocks come from business issues, family problems, or health concerns (or a combination!), maintaining a spiritual “mind like water” is tough these days.

Even if we manage to escape without waves and ripples for a season, we know it is only a matter of time before the tumult returns. Why is life so hard like this? Why can’t we have more quiet time when our minds are at peace instead of churning through the day?

Its How We Learn

Well, I read a verse today that speaks to this. Here it is:

It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I could learn Your statutes.
Psalm 119:71

I think God knows we learn better when we go through tough times. He knows that we draw closer to him during the storms. Maybe getting things done is easier when there are fewer waves, but He is more interested in our relationship with Him than He is in our getting things done for Him.

So first, recognize that the waves bring us to Him and as a result, help us to learn and mature in our Christian walk. Don’t fight the waves. Instead, ask what you can learn from them.

Constant Tumult Not Necessary

At the same time, God does not necessarily desire for us to be in constant tumult in our minds. The external waves can teach us much, but even in the midst of the storms, God promises that we can have peace!

So even though you will face storms throughout your life, you can still have a peace inside. Your mind can still be like water – absent of anxiety and fear. I wrote several posts on this recently (read them here), but the bottom line is that you must take an eternal perspective on life.

Eternal Perspective

I believe this peace comes from recognizing that this life is temporary and is only a brief glimpse of the eternity we have ahead of us. When we trust God completely, to the point where all anxiety and fear is replaced with peace, then we can experience spiritual “mind like water.”

When we can do this – even for short periods of time – we are better able to hear and understand what God wants us to learn. When we are free from worry about the distractions in this world and focused on His peace, then the insights and wisdom we can gain will astound us.

I encourage you to try Getting Things Done if you need an effective work-life management system. However, more important than that is gaining the eternal perspective that can help you achieve a spiritual “mind like water.” I promise you will never go back!

Have you experienced “mind like water”?

Is your eternal perspective allowing you to have peace in the storms?

What do you need to do next?

Danger Zone In Continuous Learning

I have talked a lot in my posts about being mentored and learning from others. I think continuous learning is a critical part of being a leader and anyone who has stopped learning will not be leading much longer. However, there can be an easily overlooked danger in this that I want to address.


Endless Supply Of Material

If you have access to the internet, then you literally have access to more leaders than you can count. You can read books and blogs or watch videos and webinars on virtually any subject or topic you choose. There is a virtually endless supply of wisdom out there to be gleaned.

Even if you narrow your search down to Christian business leaders, it would not be very difficult to find more material than you can absorb in a year. Quite simply, there is not a shortage of opportunities for learning or gaining wisdom in the world today.

I have been overwhelmed at times with the abundance of godly wisdom that is available. In fact, there have been times where I have been reading two or three different books or blogs at one time. While it can sometimes get confusing, I have enjoyed the variety.

So what exactly is the danger that we need to avoid?

How can continuous learning cause us trouble?

Danger Example In Scripture

These are good questions, but before I answer them I want to take a look at an example from Scripture. In the following passage, Peter steps into a danger zone. It is this area that I want to discuss.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transformed in front of them, and His clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what he should say, since they were terrified.

A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud:

    This is My beloved Son;
    listen to Him!

Then suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus alone.
Mark 9:2-8

Three Tabernacles?

Did you catch the danger area for Peter? Look back at what Peter said about building three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. What was wrong with that? Why should we consider this a danger zone?

I am not sure it is really clear until you read further and see how God responded. Read again what He says to them – “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him!”


I believe that Peter was in awe over seeing Moses and Elijah. As a Jew, Peter saw these two guys as legendary men of faith. God worked incredible miracles through them and their lives were studied in depth by Jewish children as they came up in the synagogue.

For Americans, this would be like suddenly meeting George Washington and Ben Franklin. For students of business, the equivalent might be Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller. Athletes might compare this to meeting Babe Ruth and Jim Thorpe.

I think you get the idea, but maybe the danger is still unclear.

God Interrupts

Think about it. Peter is clearly enamored with meeting these two legends and immediately wants to do something to show his excitement. Rather than thinking it through, he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind – to build three tabernacles or shelters for the tow of them and Jesus.

This is when God steps in and speaks. It is not often that God does this so we need to pay attention when He does. We should immediately realize that there is something important for us to learn here.

When God speaks, He makes it known that Jesus is His Son and that Peter (and the others) should listen to Him. Why did He do this?

Wrong Star!

What Peter did not realize was that while Moses and Elijah were great men, they were not great enough to be put on par with Jesus! Even though Peter should have been in awe of their presence, he should have been that much more in awe over being in the presence of Jesus, the Son of God! I don’t think it is coincidental that as soon as God said this, Jesus is the only one still standing there.

Too often, like Peter, we get caught up in who is the latest leader or guru in our industry. We want to read the latest book on business by the most recent author to rise to the top of his area of expertise. We even take pride in telling people what we have read and who we are learning from.

Jesus Stands Alone

Unfortunately, the danger is in the possibility of putting these people on par with Jesus. Even worse, we might be putting them ahead of Jesus! And while God is not using his booming voice to shock us back into the right mindset, passages like the one above should make it obvious that we are out of line.

Peter got caught up in the moment and went too far in showing honor to Moses and Elijah. We often do the same when we stop seeking our wisdom from Jesus, replacing Him with whoever it is that intrigues us at the moment.

Jesus As Foudation

To avoid this danger, we all need to make sure we build a foundation of learning from Jesus through consistent Bible study and prayer. We need to allow the wisdom from God’s Word to be our first and most important source of wisdom – whether it is for our business, job, or family. He should be first.

From there, there is no danger in adding godly wisdom from other sources as well. We just need to remember to keep this other wisdom in perspective, comparing it to Scripture and only applying that which matches what we read there.

Have you been guilty of putting others on par with Jesus?

Can you see the danger of doing this?

How do you make sure Jesus is your foundation first?

Being Faithful For What Purpose?

I don’t often do this, but today’s post is actually a response to a comment I received from someone that regularly reads this blog. While I cannot always respond to comments by writing another post, I thought this one merited it. The reader’s comment concerns my last post and a possible misinterpretation of what I see as the purpose of being faithful in the small things.


Not Faithful Recently

In my last post, I confessed to being dissatisfied with how I have not been faithful in the small things. As a result, I described how I have that “out-of-shape” feeling we sometimes get at the end of the year – not just from eating too much, but also from straying from being faithful with the small things God has given us.

I went on to detail five ways I believe we can be more faithful in the small things as we head into a new year. For a closer look at these five ways, read that post [HERE] before continuing. This will also help you understand my attempt to clarify some of my statements in that post.

In general, I went through five areas where we can be more faithful. Some of these are areas in which we sometimes feel we have less to work with than others may have. I proposed that as we are more faithful with the small things, He will give back in increase.

Not Enough Explanation

This is where I did not spend enough time explaining exactly what I meant by increase in each area. Nor did I go into detail about what I see as the purpose for this increase. I did not completely ignore these issues (they WERE on my mind), but I did leave too much to interpretation. For this reason, I want to clarify.

So you understand the whole picture, here is the comment I received:

The practices below are absolutely right on! Did you intend for the purpose of each practice to point towards personal blessing and increase? You don’t seem to write this way usually, but the article started to read a bit like prosperity gospel and I wanted to check your thoughts on my interpretation.

Opportunity To Learn!

First of all, I am seriously thankful that the reader sent this comment to me. We have exchanged emails before and I am glad he felt comfortable enough to question the content of the post. I love to get feedback on what I publish and I took this feedback as sincere and constructive. Even if I disagreed with his position, I would consider it an opportunity to learn from someone else’s perspective!

So, now to clarify what I believe as it relates to his comments. Essentially, he asks if I believe the purpose of being faithful in the small things is to receive “personal blessing and increase.” The short answer to that question is easy for me – No.

Not A Believer Of Prosperity Gospel

I am not a promoter of the prosperity gospel that says we should do this and that spiritual activity or discipline so we are wealthier and happier here on earth. I believe that message takes us away from being a true disciple of Jesus and moves us toward putting ourselves and our own well-being on the throne.

I know there are verses in the Bible that can be used to support this message, but I do not believe they are being used in context. Nor do I believe using them this way to be consistent with the overall message of Scripture.

Faithful Out Of Love

Our purpose in being faithful in the small things God has given us should not be to gain our own wealth, wisdom, talents, etc. so that we can make our lives here more comfortable or easy. We should not be seeking to learn more about God in our spiritual disciplines so we can figure out how to get Him to give us more.

Instead, I believe we should be more faithful in these areas because we love Him and want to please Him. Our purpose should be to bring Him fame and make His name known among those around us. We should seek His renown, not our own (Psalm 115:1).

Increase Happens!

The cool thing is that when we are being more faithful with what He has given us, He often gives us more (2 Corinthians 9:6-12, Galatians 6:7, ). That “more” may be in the form of wealth or it may come in wisdom. He may even give us more peace in return for being more faithful in giving. Only He knows what form the increase may take.

The problem here is that too often we experience the increase and then fall right back into the mindset that we deserve it and should keep it! Unless we are careful, we can revert to the prosperity gospel without even realizing it.

Blessing To Others

Instead, our mindset should be to get excited about how we can turn to give and share the increase! I mentioned how God promised Abram the following:

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you

Genesis 12:2-3

Clear Purpose

Note the bold phrases. God promised to bless Abram and his descendants SO THAT others (all peoples on earth) could be blessed THROUGH them. The purpose of the blessing God gives us – whether in the form of wealth, wisdom, talents, etc. – is so that we can bless others. It is not about us!

We are to be conduits through which God can bless all peoples on earth!

The bottom line is that our purpose for being faithful is to please God. If He sends increase as a result, we are to use that increase to bless others – being faithful with the increase. If that results in more increase, then we continue to bless others with that as well!

Rinse, lather, and repeat.

What has been your purpose for being faithful?

Where has God given you increase?

Do you agree that the increase should be shared with others?

5 Ways To Be Faithful With The Small Things

It is the beginning of another year and I am not pleased with where I am. Maybe this does not happen with you, but I have let too many little things build up around me and remain undone. Rather than being faithful in the small things, I have not been as intentional as I like to be. I have felt “out of shape” as a result. Have you felt like this before?


Faithful With Small Things

While I am not a fan of typical New Year’s resolutions, I do want to take advantage of the opportunity for a fresh start. I will be taking some time over the next weeks to make some changes. As I go, I will share some of what I find.

I am doing this because I am determined to be faithful with the small things God has given me so that one day I can hear, “Well done!” But the reward is not only in those two precious words. The reward is also now, in this life. While it may not look like you think it should, I promise you it is available!

In fact, below I have listed five different ways you can be faithful with small things so that God can give you more in each area. Take a look at this list and see if any of the items could apply to you.

1. Spiritual disciplines

I list this item first because it is hands down the most important. We are to be faithful in prioritizing the time to spend with God on a daily basis. This time should be spent in a number of ways – reading Scripture, praying, meditating, journaling, etc.. There is not a one-size-fits-all formula for doing this, but I can tell when I am not faithful here.

If you will make the time to spend time with God in these ways on a consistent basis, He is sure to give back to you. You will receive wisdom, patience, joy, compassion, and a whole host of other qualities that are too numerous to count. Your relationships, with yourself and others, will improve dramatically. Try it and see what happens!

2. Giving

For many people, this is a sticking point. Maybe they tithe, but to give beyond that seems extreme. Most look at their income vs. their bills and determine that they have little to nothing left to give. I am not judging anyone on this. Each person has to determine in their heart what they will give – in fact God doesn’t want you to give more than that (2 Corinthians 9:7)!

At the same time, I believe it is our heart that needs to change. If we will determine in our hearts to give more – even out of the small resources we have right now – I believe God will add to our resources. He promised Abram to bless Israel in order for Israel to be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:1-3). I think He has the same thing in mind for us.

3. Godly Treatment of Employees

When I have been to conferences and heard Christian leadersof huge businesses talk about all of the programs and benefits they provide for their employees, I get frustrated. I want to do the same for our employees. The problem is that our resources are so much smaller than those of the larger companies.

However, much like the argument for giving in #2 above, this is a poor excuse. Sure, a larger company can do more than a smaller one. The question is whether we are doing all we can for our employees with the resources we have available. If we are faithful in treating the employees we have with the resources available, then I believe God will increase both!

4. Application of Wisdom

I have met some wise people over the past 10 years or so. Some of them have so much wisdom that I feel weak in comparison. I have prayed for wisdom for many years and God has answered, but I still pale when compared to them.

At the same time, we have to ask ourselves if we have applied the wisdom God has given us already. Have we been faithful with the wisdom we have? If not, why should He give us more? If it is not being applied, then we are wasting it and do not deserve more! Instead, we are to be faithful with the small wisdom in order to receive more.

5. Use of Talents

Just like wisdom, God has given each of us a measure of unique talents and abilities. It is up to us to apply those talents and abilities in a way that advances His purposes and brings Him glory. Are we doing all we can with what we have been given or are we guilty of burying these talents? (Matthew 25:14-31)

If we are faithful with the talents He has given us, we will see that He will expand those talents. Maybe He will choose to increase the talents themselves or maybe He just will just expand their influence on those around us. It is up to God as to how He does this, but I promise He will bring increase.

Do feel you have been faithful with the small things you have been given?

Where do you need to be more faithful?

What other categories would you add to this list?