“We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.”
― John Maxwell
Have you heard of the phrase “less is more”?
How about the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”?
One more idiom or parable – Do you remember hearing about how to catch a Monkey?
According to the old parable, Monkeys are selfish animals who will take as much as they can carry. As the story goes, various tribes figured out a way to capture Monkeys. They burrowed out coconuts and filled them with rice and other foods which are attractive to the monkey. Once the monkey reaches into one and grabs what they desire, the monkey will not let go. The monkey will reach into the coconut and latch onto that rice and will not un-clinch its fist.
I think we, as an Army can sometimes become a little like those monkeys…please don’t stop reading…I’m not calling anyone a monkey, rather our attitudes and activities can resemble their behavior. We can become so good at many things that we become good for nothing. We take that phrase from the Apostle Paul “I became all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) to extremes sometimes even to the point of arrogance. I believe at times we think that we are the only ones who can help people in our communities. I believe that sometimes, in that arrogance, we have reached into far too many coconuts and we are unwilling to relinquish our fists on the prize inside. We, at times, are unwilling to share the resources or allow others to help. Sometimes, the “Army Bubble” is perceived as the ONLY way to do things…and we become blinded to alternative methods and agencies who are determined to help others just as much as we are.
“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”
― John Maxwell
**I believe, dear Army, that failure is certain unless…we can be willing to let go of “the more” and focus on “the most“. **
What do I mean by that statement?
I’m glad you asked:
I believe that we as an Army of Salvation is spreading itself so thin because we are attempting to do too much. I believe that because of this, we are becoming worthless to anyone, including ourselves. We, in our arrogance (sorry I have to say it), do “the more” programs…and we add more and more to our heaping plates…because “We’re the Salvation army, and people respect us“…yet we are ill-equipped, understaffed, unprepared and not properly trained.
Now, before you shoot the messenger, please hear me out.
(*sigh, I just compared everyone to monkeys and now I talked about arrogance…I am sorry, it’s not my intent to insult anyone!*)
Instead of doing “the more“, shouldn’t we be focusing on doing “the most“?
–The Most Effective Ministries to help reach souls for Christ.
–The Most Needed Helps for the Lost.
–The Most Aggressive uses of our time, talent, treasure to impact those lives in the long-term for Christ.
–The Most wealth of resources spread amongst other agencies (gasp) instead of trying to be an Island unto ourselves.
We have to stop presuming that The Salvation Army is better than any other agency (if that is an issue for you) and begin with simplicity, humility and grace. Sometimes I feel as if we enter our communities with a perceived “power house” mentality and with it comes a kind of pride and arrogance that should never be present in a uniform. Our deeds ought not have ulterior motives to conquer and claim leadership in the community. Our actions ought not be led by a superiority complex because we’ve been doing this for over a hundred years (or more) in our respective communities. Rather, we ought to be present at community events, seeking to bridge gaps that may be present, helping in anyway that we can. Let’s avoid the arrogance of “knowing it all” and presuming we always have the answers. Rather, we ought to be humble servants of the Most High and reflect that grace in our words and actions.
Can we stop focusing on “the More“?
Can we take a step into “the Most“?
I don’t just mean that we assume that branding of “Doing the Most Good”…but we ought to live “the Most Good” both in and out of uniform. It boils down to our attitudes. How will we serve? How will we succeed? How will we love?
We will not succeed by doing more.
We will not succeed by spreading ourselves too thin that we can’t make ends meet.
We will fail if we attempt to exclude or isolate ourselves from others who are helping people too.
We will fail if we allow arrogance to close our fists as we grasp at things (and money) that are not ours.
I don’t want to fail.
I want to succeed.
I want to be an aggressive Army, hell bent on winning souls for Christ by any and every available tool.
I don’t want to settle for doing more, but rather doing the most with the best of our gifts and abilities.
If we could just stop focusing on doing everything and instead focus once more on doing the most important, most meaningful things that will impact lives for Christ…we will win, we will succeed in this mission.
Questions to Ponder:
What 2 or 3 things does your Ministry do well at?
How can you eliminate “the more” so that you can focus on “the most”?
What tools will I need to make this happen right here and now?
How can I let go of my clenched fist full of pride and “stuff” so that I can refocus on the vital and the truly needed?
Dear Lord, help me to let go of the things that don’t truly matter to the mission that you have me here doing.
May it not be about my pride and my arrogance, but about your love for others. Help me to serve You by doing “the most” not “the more”. In Your name I pray these things. -Amen.