Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. I ran from Sydney to Melbourne and raised $160k for my local church in 2008. It was a monumental challenge and was not helped by my little toe on my left foot turning black and getting pancaked for 1,172km. It didn’t matter how fit I was, the tiniest thing became my biggest issue. The same principle applies in life. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and if you don’t pay attention to them, they will take you out. The challenge is many of us think we can take shortcuts with the little things and get away with it, however, you ignore them at your own peril. What are the little foxes in your world stealing the fruitfulness from your vineyard of life, work and health? Identify them and catch them before they spoil your vineyard.
Type A achievers tend to have high capacity to handle a lot of different tasks and assignments all at the same time. However, whilst the results may be enviable in the short term, the long term consequences are far less glamorous and far more stressful. The person who who commits themselves to focus on fewer things but with greater attention and resolve will execute far more consistently and receive better results long term. It has taken me my entire life to learn this principle. I would struggle with saying ‘NO’ to well meaning people who would ask me to get involved in a task, ministry or event. I didn’t want to disappoint people and I thought I could make a helpful contribution. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. High profile individuals are generally recognized for the one unique thing they do remarkably well, not for the million and one things they are average at. Play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Do less and do it better. You’ll enjoy life more and you’ll produce better results.
Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself.. And God gave Daniel favor in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.
It’s the things that people never see that sets you apart. Everyone of us have the opportunity to make choices about what we will do in our personal lives. We can choose to go with the flow of the majority or choose to be set apart, whether anybody sees us or not. You can be sure that when God gives one of his kids favor publicly, there has been a history of personal victories in that persons life. We can choose to compromise or choose to conquer but the fruit of our lives will speak for itself. What do you need to have fresh resolve about in your personal life? Be encouraged that what you overcome in the secret place will be rewarded in the public arena by Gods grace and favor. He sees every sacrifice you’ve made and not even the littlest thing goes unnoticed.
Proverbs 18:21 The power of life and death is in the tongue!
Your future is literally being created by the words you speak out of your mouth. There’s a direct correlation between the words you speak and the life you live. Consider your words carefully for by your words you will be justified and by your words you’ll be condemned. You can literally talk yourself into a feeling or circumstance and directly out of them as well. If you’re not happy with where you find yourself in life, consider changing your words. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Whatever the theme of your heart is, that will be reflected in the words of your mouth. There is creative power in our mouths and we need to steward it accordingly.
Everything in God’s creation, He created by the words of his mouth with the only exception being us. He created us by reaching down into the dirt of the earth and forming us in his image. Thus, every one of us have God’s fingerprints all over us. Dirt doesn’t seem very appealing but when you plant a seed in it, that seed will eventually produce life. God has planted seeds of blessing in every one of us. You may not be able to see the blessings God has planted on the inside of you but the seed within you has potential within it to produce life. It’s just buried at the moment. You need to water it, nurture it and have the courage to let God bring the seed forth out of the dirt of your life.
It’s been said that an academic takes something simple and makes it complex but a communicator takes something complex and makes it simple. There is way too much complexity in the world. Most of us are overwhelmed by information and more information leads to more complexity. Getting your message across to people requires you to cut through the complexity by keeping things simple and concise. The more detail, the less clear. Detail is ok for back of house but not for front of house, where people are going to see it. Jesus was a master communicator who took complex spiritual realities and tied them to everyday experiences and activities. Thus, 2000 years later, we are benefitting from the clarity Jesus lived and ministered with. Your message is too important to be unclear about it. Very few people can pull off clever and keep their message clear. Bother less about being clever and focus more on being clear. Your audience will appreciate you for it.
God hasn’t made you responsible for the outcome. That’s his responsibility. But He has made you responsible for the process. Often we work harder at trying to control the outcome rather than just putting the right ingredients into the process. Paul was the initiator of the process by planting and Apollos continued the process by watering what God had initiated through Paul. Planting and watering in all it’s forms made up the process but God was the agent who gave the growth. When you stop trying to control the outcome, you are freed up to give your best to the process and maintain peace along the way. Having to control the outcome is stressful and not in our job description. God says, “Trust me with the outcome by not leaning on your own understanding and focus on the process of what I’ve asked you to do and watch what I do with the outcome.”