How can less be more? It seems to be counter-intuitive.
As I look at the growth of this ministry, called The Carpenter’s House, I am asking myself this very question. When I look at a need, I think, “how can we fill that need or fix that problem. Maybe we need a group or a ministry or…” The list goes on. When is it too much? As a pastor, my job is to lead people to Christ and help them to get to know Him better (aka – disciple). There is no limit to the need for that work. But what about the other issues? Jesus fed the hungry and healed the sick. So how does that translate to us today? When do we say, No?
What I have learned is, that as individuals or churches, we are not built to meet every need. The only one that can do that is Jesus. We are not Him but we are part of His body. So we do have a job to do. What is that job, where do we find it and how do know where it begins and ends? Good questions… tougher to find the answers. But I do know this truth, when I eliminate everything other than those things that I absolutely have to do, I can focus and do a really good job. In those moments, I discover that less, truly is more!
What about stuff in our lives? Whether it is the things that clutter our houses, desks or lives, too much is still too much. Where do you draw the line in your personal life? I’m not going to meddle in someone’s personal house clutter but to say, minimalism is healthy. Clutter free desks are good too. My desk use to be a horrible mess and I would call it “stack management”. It was a mess because I was mess and things fell through the cracks and didn’t get done. I know people will argue with me about this, so enough said.
In your life, you can have so many things going on that you never get to really focus on the most important things. It has been said that “Good is the enemy of Great”. You can be so busy doing good that you miss the truly great thing you were called too. In ministry/church work, there is never any end to the demands. If you get off track and simply become reactive to every demand/request, without funneling it through your mission statement, a ministry/church can drown in the demands and miss their true purpose.
As individuals, we can do the same thing. We have to create priorities and boundaries and filter all the requests we get through it. If it doesn’t pass the check, you must pass on the request. You may think by saying no that you are being unchristian but nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible tell us all we have gifts. One of your filters should be our gifts. If it isn’t in the realm of your gift, pass on it. The next thing to consider is where does this request fall in order of my priorities? You have to know what your priorities are before you can answer this question.
Let me help you a little but…
1. Your relationship with God (not your ministry)
2. Your Spouse
3. Your family
4. Your Job/Ministry
The top three on this list are non-negotiable.
If you will look at anything new in your life through this paradigm of priorities, it will be easier to analyze what you should allow and what you shouldn’t. I also want to challenge you to look at the current list of “to-do’s” and see if you can find some things that need to be eliminated and be ruthless.
To live simply and focused on the highest and best that God has for you is a very rewarding life. It requires daily discipline to remain on course but you can do it. I have to be honest, one of the reasons I am writing about this is because it is a huge personal challenge for me as well. Will you pray for me? If you will comment on this post and request that I pray for you, I certainly will.
Dr Cliff Robertson, Jr.
2 Timothy 4:2