Andy Stanley, in Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision (a fantastic book, by the way):
If God has birthed a vision in your heart, the day will come when you will be called upon to make a sacrifice to achieve it. And you will have to make the sacrifice with no guarantee of success.
I talk to people all the time who have what seem to be “God ideas” but who are unwilling to commit with both hands and feet. The conversation often begins with, “If I had a million dollars.”
A well-meaning lady once said to me, “You know, I am so burdened by the problems in the inner city. If I had a million dollars, I would love to go down there and start a school for underprivileged kids.”
As sensitively as I knew how, I said, “I know people with far less than you have now who have started schools for inner-city kids. You don’t need a million dollars to start a school.” What she needed was the courage to act on her vision.
The difference between those with a burden for inner-city kids and those who actually do something is not resources. It is a willingness to take risks and make sacrifices. The people who make a difference in this world commit to what could be before they know where the money is coming from. Their vision is enough to cause them to jump in. Money usually follows vision. It rarely happens the other way around. Consequently, vision always involves sacrifice and risk-taking.
My post today at the Global Leadership Summit blog.
And here’s Justin Taylor’s helpful post on John Stott and his life.
In my article “Management in Light of the Supremacy of God,” I place significant emphasis on how the core of great management involves extending people’s autonomy rather than exercising detailed control over people.
One reader recently asked: “How does this relate to the reality of sin? How should the doctrine of sin and the fallen human heart affect our understanding of management?”
That’s a great question. I typed up a very quick response. Here’s what I said:
Glad you enjoyed the article, and thanks for your question.
Briefly, I’d say the reality of sin is addressed by the “accountability for results” component. We should maximize people’s freedom, but this is freedom within a framework. The framework is not only necessary because of sin — people are served by helpful structures and systems in themselves. But this also is one of the ways sin is kept in check as well.
A couple other thoughts. The emphasis on expanding freedom also takes into account the reality of sin, because as Paul teaches, the law actually makes sin increase. He is talking broadly there about God’s law and the human heart in general, but it does have an application to management: creating detailed rules is more likely to stir up sin in employee’s hearts than control sin. There is a place for rules, and sometimes even pretty strict ones (for example: in relation to financial reporting), but when there isn’t someone’s life at stake (airplane checklists, for example) or laws/ethical realities, the disposition should be to allow people freedom to identify their own way to accomplish the outcomes.
Another issue is: what are the specific sins of most people in the workplace? While all people are sinners, I don’t think that, for most people, their sin manifests itself as laziness and unwillingness to work. I think most people want to do good work and seek increased responsibility. Much sin in the workplace falls in the realm of motives and such things as that — a lot of which is outside the purview of management. So giving people freedom within a healthy overall framework will typically not be abused because of sin; and when it is abused by a few, it doesn’t serve the organization to punish everyone for a few bad apples.
One last thought: We also need to think of the sins of management. Sometimes people think “let’s tightly control people, because they are sinners,” not realizing that the managers themselves who are the ones to exercise this “tight control” are also sinners. So a tightly controlled approach as a response to sin runs into its own problems. Freedom within a healthy framework takes account of sin in the best way, in my view, because most people will excel when given the chance and since this also minimizes the opportunity for management to sin by overly controlling their people and viewing them mainly as means.
Isn’t it amazing that God uses our mouths as a means of building up his church? And when the church is strengthened, its influence can spread outward into the lives of others. I think of Paul as he reminds Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” (1 Tim. 1:6). What a cool metaphor to mediate on. I picture you and me sitting down by a campfire and the fire seems to be burning out. I take a stick and simply move the wood around and perhaps put another log on top. In just a few moments, the fire begins to burn brightly again spreading so rapidly that we have to push our chairs back because of the heat and flames. That’s what our words can do for others. They can stoke the fire of the Holy Spirit and his gifts within us to burn more brightly so that all can see his glory.
So here’s the challenge. When you witness the display of God’s grace and gifting in someone’s life, tell them. Point it out to them. Encourage them. And be specific. You never know how God could use your words as a way of stoking the fire of someone’s life to make a significant impact for Christ’s kingdom.
This is a guest post by Dan Cruver, director of Together for Adoption.
Want to learn more about missional living and our call as Christians to care for orphans in their distress?
Last year over 1,000 gathered together in Austin, TX to consider The Gospel, the Church, and the Global Orphan Crisis. Join us this October 21-22 at Redemption Church (Gilbert Campus) in Phoenix for Together for Adoption (T4A) Conference 2011 as we explore the theme Missional Living, the Gospel and Orphan Care.
As written in Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, “To live missionally means to live each waking moment in light of the gospel so that it increasingly affects every part of our lives for the glory of God’s grace in our fallen world” (p 17). James 1:27 tells us that the practice of true religion necessarily involves caring for orphans in their distress. Therefore, to live missionally means that the Gospel is increasingly moving and empowering us to care for those who live on the razor-sharp edge of our world’s brokenness. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the Gospel is at the center of missional living and the evangelical orphan care movement.
General session speakers include: Darrin Patrick, Tullian Tchividjian, Tim Chester, Bryan Loritts, Juan Sanchez, and Jeff Vanderstelt
Worship Leaders: Shaun Groves, Aaron Ivey, and Jimmy McNeal
General Session Hosts: Shaun Groves and Johnny Carr (National Director of Church Partnerships at Bethany Christian Services)
Save $30 by registering this week for Together for Adoption’s October 21-22 orphan care/adoption conference (read full-details here). You may now register for just $75 today, July 26th, through Saturday, July 30th. This limited-time discount is over $30 less than our current early bird special. Take advantage of this super early bird price and help us spread the word about it this week. This sale ends on Saturday, July 30th at 11:59pm. Register here for this super early bird rate.
Note: If you are coming with a group from your church, this would be the perfect opportunity for your group’s members to register.
An important observation by Jim Collins in How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In:
During its darkest days, Xerox faced the very real threat of bankruptcy, yet Mulcahy rebuffed with steely silence her advisors’ repeated suggestions that she consider Chapter 11. She also held fast against a torrent of advice from outsiders to cut R&D to save the company, noting that a return to greatness depended on both tough cost cutting and long-term investment, and actually increased R&D as a percentage of sales during the darkest days.
“For me, this was all about having a company that people could retire from, having a company that their kids could come and work at, having a company that actually would have pride some day in terms of its accomplishments.”
And it worked:
For 2000 and 2001, Xerox posted a total of nearly $367 million in losses. By 2006, Xerox posted profits in excess of $1 billion and sported a much stronger balance sheet. And in 2008, Chief Executive magazine selected Mulcahy as chief executive of the year. At the time of this writing in 2008, Xerox’s transition had been going strong for seven years — no guarantee, of course, that Xerox will continue to climb, but an impressive recovery from the early 2000s.
The lesson, for organizations and life, is not to cease expenditures for growth during challenging times. This can seem appealing, but it backfires. People who are only mindful of costs don’t do many things to write home about.
How the Gospel Should Shape Your Web Strategy, Not Just Your Web Content – My Message at the Christian Web Conference
Here’s the message I gave at the Christian Web Conference on “How the Gospel Should Shape Your Web Strategy — Not Just Your Web Content”:
Here are some of the things I talk about:
- A few words on my upcoming book, and how technology and productivity practices exist to amplify our ability to do good.
- What usability is.
- Why there is a biblical case for making our websites (and everything else we do!) usable and helpful to people.
- The process we went through creating the major redesign of the Desiring God website of 2006 on the basis of sound usability principles.
- Some of the (perhaps unorthodox!) extreme productivity measures involved the including 90 hour weeks and three all-nighters in a row.
- On the necessity of avoiding the self-protective mindset in organizations in order to keep the user and people you serve first.
- How it is Christian to make websites usable and doing good workmanship in general.
- Reducing friction so ideas can spread.
- 5 principles for making websites usable.
- A few words on why ministries should post everything online for free.
- And other stuff!
From the DG blog:
What is righteousness? Should churches be involved in social issues? How does one practice law to the glory of God? At an event on June 12 hosted by the Alliance Defense Fund, Pastor John spoke with with a group of law students about these important issues:
[Update: I had to remove the video due to problems in having it embed correctly; to see the video, click through to DG.]
Time markers for the questions:
18:25 — Would you agree with the definition that “righteousness seeks the good of the community?” How do you define righteousness?
23:57 — How do developing countries counter the prosperity gospel?
27:46 — How can we maintain our zeal for God’s glory throughout our work?
36:20 — Should churches be involved in social issues, or individual Christians?
41:07 — What is the method of discerning whether an institution is a result of hallowing God’s name?
Here is a good summary from an article I came across again recently in my files:
Encouragement includes the giving of courage, hope, confidence, support and help.
The apostle Paul ties the act of encouragement to the process of building up one another: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).
We can aid our understanding of the word encourage by looking at the gift of encouragement (or exhortation) as stated in Romans 12:8. Students of the Greek language indicate the word comes from the same family of words used to describe the Holy Spirit as our paraclete, “one who comes alongside us to help.” Leslie B. Flynn wrote of encouragement as helping to strengthen the weak, steady the faltering and console the troubled. . . .
In Scripture encouragement is often closely aligned with restoration and renewal of Spirit. For example, Psalm 3 is David’s reflection on the horrible experience of having his son turn against him, causing such a rift that all David’s relationships were broken. Psalm 3 indicates, among other things, that God replenished David’s courage (encouragement), restored his confidence (depleted by his experience) and revived his hope. Some of the same of the same results will accrue from our involvement in encouraging others.
A study of 42 NT references to the word encourage quickly reveals this is a ministry for all believers, though some have special ability because of God’s gifting. Encouragement is coming alongside another to offer help and hope.
Just a quick thought.
I do think it is valuable, in planning your day, to identify which tasks are “A” priorities for that day and which tasks are “B” or “C.” Prioritizing can be done wrong, but I think it is helpful in general.
Here’s a nice outcome of this: If you identify “A” and “B” tasks, then when you are done with your “A” tasks, the rest of the day has lower pressure. You can be more free to be interrupted because these tasks aren’t absolutely essential for the day (they are “B” priorities for that day), and yet it feels like you are getting ahead with whatever you do get done.
I don’t think it’s good to have your whole day consist simply of pre-defined tasks and appointments. But it’s hard to get around the need for some sort of list. This helps you keep that list from becoming a tyrant rather than a tool and servant.
Below is a short documentary of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization that was held in Cape Town, South Africa, last October.
Here’s the intro from the website:
Cape Town 2010 has been called the most representative gathering of Christian leaders in the 2000 year history of the Christian movement (Christianity Today). Four-thousand Christian leaders representing 198 countries attended the Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. The Congress was brought together by a globalized leadership team from Africa, Egypt, Malaysia, India, North America and elsewhere. Several thousand more leaders participated in the Congress through the Cape Town GlobaLink, Cape Town Virtual Congress and Lausanne Global Conversation. Learn more about this gathering by watching this short documentary.
A good video from the Global Leadership Summit, which is happening August 11-12:
Here’s an abbreviated transcript:
“I do leadership development as a discipline. I don’t do it as a recreation. I read one or two leadership books a month by sheer discipline. I don’t ask myself if I feel like it. I need to read–I have to take responsibility, God has given me, whatever size platform it is- big or small. I have some people I’ve been given charge to lead well. I have to read to get better as a leader. I’m asking you leaders, take responsibility for your leadership development and read more and read as a discipline.
I’m asking you to get around other leaders that are better than you –as a discipline, I’m not asking you to do it recreationally. Every 30 days, ask yourself who could I ask to lunch or dinner? Who can I get around who’s been where I haven’t’ been – built something I have not yet built? How can I ask them the right questions so I can stretch my mind and heart and get better?”
This is a guest post by Loren Pinilis. Loren blogs on time stewardship at Life of a Steward.
One of the foundations of effectiveness is goals: setting them, reviewing them, and acting on them. This is Productivity 101.
But there’s a common problem with goals. They keep us so focused on our desired outcomes that the present passes us by. We move from milestone to milestone, waking up one day to realize that our lives have been joyless pursuits of what’s always over the horizon.
To be sure, Christians should live with an eternal perspective. Yet we glorify God by our attitudes in the present. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him,” goes the famous John Piper quote. That joy and satisfaction don’t happen when our days are consumed with chasing the carrot on the end of a stick.
How can we combine present satisfaction in God with ambitiously setting goals for our future?
There are a multitude of answers, such as the motivating drive we feel when we truly grasp his grace. But I want to mention one powerful and often overlooked way: finding joy in the act of growing.
God uses the journey for his purposes, not just the destination. This means that we’re not to be satisfied only when our outcomes have been reached. We are to take pleasure in the process of striving for our vision.
To use the popular example of a fitness goal: We don’t just visualize our desired weight loss. We go beyond simply congratulating ourselves when we step on the scale and see how far we’ve come. Instead, we take it a level further and actually enjoy the process of dieting and exercising.
The first-time author can appreciate the frustration felt as they pound out that manuscript. A novice teacher can find joy in the awkward experience of losing a class’s interest. Leaders can rejoice in being challenged as their team struggles to deal with unplanned difficulties.
We may have lofty ambitions to reach radical heights, yet his providence has placed us where we are for a reason. We don’t want our focus on the future to turn into a subtle rebellion or a questioning of God’s wisdom.
The process of working towards our goals can be a tool that God uses to mold us into the image of Christ. We may want to lose weight; he wants to teach us patience. We may want to expand our ministry; he wants to show us our selfish pride.
His loving hands are guiding us – even testing and trying us — this whole time. Even though we’d like to “arrive,” what a joy it is to have the father leading us.
With our sovereign God in control, we can give thanks for — and find joy in — the growing as much as the growth.
The film releases in October. Here’s the synopsis:
WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED. WILL WE DO EVERYTHING IT TAKES?
Premiering this October, 58: is the inspiring true story of the global Church in action. Witness bravery and determined faith in a journey from the slums of Kenya to the streets of New York. Confront the brutality of extreme poverty and meet those who live out the True Fast of Isaiah 58 and create stunning new possibilities for the future.
Travel from the sun-scorched plains of rural Ethiopia to British shopping centers, from Brazilian ganglands and the enslaving quarries of India to western churches, businesses and conferences.
58: invites audiences to discover the incredible work of God through His people in our hurting world. Meet ordinary people, hear their stories, and see their struggles and their victories as 58: shows the relentlessly loving God at work through His Church bringing hope to the darkest challenges of our day. Experience eye-opening reasons to lift our expectations of the future.
Woven with Biblical truth, this film draws audiences into life-changing examples of the True Fast of Isaiah 58 — a young British woman prevailing over the pressures of consumer society, Ethiopian Christians working to restore their environment, an American business owner promoting Fair Trade coffee and connecting his local community with the work of ending poverty, a local pastor in India working to be a Good Samaritan to those enslaved by bonded labor, and the sacrificial generosity of New York youth giving up their own food for the sake of those with even less. These impatient revolutionaries and ordinary prophets present viewers with an empowering vision of the Church rising up to its remarkable potential to end extreme poverty, by bringing God’s words through Isaiah to life in our time, in our day.
Experience 58: this October on television, online, on DVD, and at screening events throughout the U.S.
This is a guest post by my friend Andy Naselli. Andy is research manager for DA Carson and editor of the online theological journal Themelios. He has two (!) PhDs and blogs at andynaselli.com, which I highly recommend.
From Tim Challies, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 113, 117–18:
During a time of singing at a recent conference, I spotted a woman raising one hand in worship while sending a text message with the other one. We mix worship with our work and pleasure. Why are we surprised when we can only give partial attention to any one of them? . . .
One way we pursue the virtue of efficiency is by becoming multitaskers. If we are driven by efficiency, it is not enough that we work quickly; we must also work on many things simultaneously. Imitating our computers, we seek to switch seamlessly from one task to the next, from one priority to another. At our desks we work on our projects while chatting on instant messengers, sending off text messages, and glancing at our favorite blogs. Even in our entertainment we want to be able to do many things at once—to be able to watch television while sending a text message and checking in on our friends’ Facebook pages.
A rash of recent studies shows that multitasking is not a solution. In fact, studies show that multitasking is actually a misnomer. While we think we are multitasking, we are actually task switching, doing a little bit of one thing and then doing a little bit of another. Our brains just won’t allow us to perform two complex operations at the same time with the same skill. Quality necessarily suffers, as does depth. Not only that, but multitasking is not even very efficient. David E. Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, found that “people who switch back and forth between two tasks, like exchanging e-mail and writing a report, may spend 50 percent more time on those tasks than if they work on them separately, completing one before starting the other.”
Meanwhile, if we surround ourselves by too many stimuli, we force our brains into a state of continuous partial attention, a state in which we keep tabs on everything without giving focused attention to anything. . . .
Whether through multitasking or through monitoring so many sources of input that we remain in continuous partial attention, we lose the ability to think in a sustained way. . . .
This is as true in worship as it is in the workplace. Efficiency is a dangerous mind-set to bring to our faith. We do not want to be efficient worshipers, driven by a desire to get more of God in a shorter amount of time. We do not want to be hurried worshipers who value speed over quality.
It’s common to hope for new products, books, and marketing initiatives to “generate buzz.” And if something creates a season of buzz early on, that is often looked at as a mark of success.
At first this sounds good. It sounds like it’s in line with one of the core principles of (good) marketing: create things worth talking about. Unleash word of mouth, which is then amplified by the internet as never before.
But it’s actually not. The concept of “buzz” is actually a hold-over from the old methods of interruption marketing where the organization (or marketer) sees themselves as in control. The reason is that there is a difference between buzz and word of mouth.
Buzz is surface level. It is usually based on superficial realities about the product or message. It doesn’t last.
Word of mouth, on the other hand, is substantive. It facilitates meaningful interactions and is based on deeper realities than just surface factors. It stems from a real emotional connection with the product. It is meaningful.
It’s not that buzz is bad. It’s just not enough. Seek for your product, book, message, website, or organization to generate true and valuable word of mouth, not just buzz.
I differ from conventional wisdom here and believe the answer is no. It is not the case that some weaknesses are simply strengths taken too far.
Rather, the problem is not too much of one strength, but too little of another.
The reason this is important is because if you think a weaknesses is arising from having “too much strength” in an area, you will counsel the person to dial back their strength. Which won’t work and will only result in frustration.
But if you realize that the issue is not having enough strength in a counterbalancing area, the right solution emerges: build more strength in the relevant additional area.
Here’s how Marcus Buckingham puts it in Now, Discover Your Strengths:
Some people wonder if a strong theme can become so dominating that it gets in the way of excellent performance and is thus, by definition, a weakness. For example, can someone have such a powerful Activator theme that he forgets to focus on the future? Or can someone’s Command theme be so overwhelming that he frequently upsets the people around him?
We have a different view. A person can never have too much of a particular theme. He can only have not enough of another one. For example, rude people don’t have too much Command. They have insufficient Empathy. Impatient people don’t have too much Activator. They have too little Futuristic talent.
This distinction isn’t esoteric. On the contrary, it has practical repercussions. If you assume that the person is struggling to excel because he has too much of a particular theme, then you will tell him to tone the theme down, to stop behaving that way, and to be less of who he truly is.
This is repressive advice. It may be well intentioned, but it is rarely effective.
Conversely, if you assume that he is struggling because he has too little of a theme(s), you will offer him more positive advice. You will suggest that he manage around this weakness. You will tell him to decide which of the five strategies would prove most helpful, select one or two of them ,and tailor this strategy to his unique situation. This advice often proves challenging to implement, but as advice goes, it is more creative, more purposeful, and thus more effective.
It’s counterintutive, but true:
“A stingy man hastens after wealth, and does not know that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22).
On the other hand:
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:24-25).
This applies in all sorts of ways to all sorts of areas, and it’s not just about money. We are to incline towards mercy and generosity in all of our dealings with people.
Generosity means that when you do your work, you do it to the best of your ability — you do more than is expected, not less. When you lead others, you seek their welfare and building up, and not just the accomplishment of tasks. When organizations create policies, their disposition should be towards serving and empowering their people, not first protecting themselves.
In everything we do, in all realms of life, our disposition should be towards service and generosity, rather than self-protection.
Ironically, one of the biggest threats to this is the quest for efficiency. Sometimes, the quest for efficiency can simply become a cloak for stinginess. That’s why I don’t hit the note of efficiency much on this blog — I believe that the best way to be efficient is simply to be effective. There is a place for efficiency, but be careful of letting efficiency balloon in to stinginess. Make it your first priority to seek that which serves others and benefits them; let efficiency be the second consideration, not the first.
And, in the end, you will find that this is actually far more efficient. “He who waters will himself be watered.”
A good article from Harvard Business Review.
Jason Fried, co-founder of 37 Signals, has a good article on productivity and creativity with some counterintuitive points. Here’s the beginning:
A few weeks ago, I was on fire. I was working on some designs for a prototype of a new software product, and the ideas were flowing as they hadn’t in months. Every day, I felt as if I were accomplishing two or three days’ worth of work. I was in the zone, and it felt fantastic.
It lasted about three weeks. And then I found myself back at my old pace. Instead of being superproductive, I was sort-of productive. Some days, I felt as if I barely accomplished anything.
So what was wrong? Nothing at all.
I believe it’s perfectly fine to spend some of your time, maybe even a lot of your time, not firing on all cylinders. Just like full employment isn’t necessarily good for an economy, full capacity isn’t always great for your mind.
This is a good article by John Piper on Hebrews 6:17-18. Here’s a core excerpt:
This text assumes that God had already said enough to give us encouragement. But God is not a God of minimums. His aim is not to speak as few encouraging words as possible. He speaks some words to give us hope. Then, being the effusive God he is, he says to himself, “This is good. I like doing this. I think that I shall do this again.” And so he speaks some more words of encouragement.
But not just more. They are better. He moves from simple promises (which are infallible and infinitely trustworthy!) to oaths. And not just any oaths, but the best and highest kind—oaths based on himself. Why? Not because his word is weak. But because we are weak, and he is patient.
He desires to “show…prove…demonstrate…point out…represent…display…reveal… drive home” the hopefulness of our future. He really wants us to feel this. He goes the second (and third and fourth) mile to help us feel encouraged. This is what he wants. This is what he really wants. “When God desired to show more convincingly…”
This is really good news. God is “not a God of minimums.” He is an abundant God who seeks to do good to us in great ways, with one of those ways being abundantly encouraging us.
Our encouragement is, in fact, one of the primary purposes of the Old Testament and, by extension, the New Testament as well: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through the endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Let’s tie this in to leadership. There is a small school of thought in leadership that thinks you should be sparse in encouraging others. The thinking is that if you encourage people too much, it is somehow a bad thing and will lead them to have an unrealistic picture of the situation.
Thankfully, God does not think this way. Encouragement is a good thing. God seeks to provide abundant encouragement to us through his promises. He wants us to be encouraged — to be greatly encouraged.
And we see the same in Paul’s example as well. Note, for example, the emphasis in Acts 20:1-2: “After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.”
So, know that God does want you to be encouraged. And, be encouraged by that! And, in your relationships with others, seek to imitate God’s example and Paul’s example by being abundantly encouraging to those around you.
I’ve been talking for the last couple of days on the value of having a job that you love. If you aren’t content in your current job, of course, the first thing to consider is how you might be able to craft it and shape it in a way that is more in line with your strengths.
But if the discontent remains, perhaps it’s worth considering something radical. Something more radical than just switching jobs. Maybe it’s worth thinking about missions.
I’m not suggesting here that secular employment or a non-profit or ministry role in the US is less valuable than doing missions. Rather, I’m just suggesting that, if you are discontent in your job and the discontent tends to remain, it’s worth considering missions as one of the possibilities for what’s next.
Here’s how John Piper puts it at the end of Don’ t Waste Your Life:
The Meaning of Your Discontent
Many of you should stay where you are in your present job, and simply ponder how you can fit your particular skills and relationships and resources more strategically into the global purposes of your heavenly Father.
But for others reading this book, it is going to be different. Many of you are simply not satisfied with what you are doing. As J. Campbell White said, the output of your lives is not satisfying your deepest spiritual ambitions.
We must be careful here. Every job has its discouragements and its seasons of darkness. We must not interpret such experiences automatically as a call to leave our post.
But if the discontent with your present situation is deep, recurrent, and lasting, and if that discontent grows in Bible-saturated soil, God may be calling you to a new work. If, in your discontent, you long to be holy, to walk pleasing to the Lord, and to magnify Christ with your one, brief life, then God may indeed be loosening your roots in order to transplant you to a place and a ministry where the deep spiritual ambitions of your soul can be satisfied.
It is true that God can be known and enjoyed in every legitimate vocation; but when he deploys you from one place to the next, he offers fresh and deeper drinking at the fountain of his fellowship. God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace. . . .
Big issues are in the offing. May God help you. May God free you. May God give you a fresh, Christ-exalting vision for your life — whether you go to an unreached people or stay firmly and fruitfully at your present post. May your vision get its meaning from God’s great purpose to make the nations glad in him. May the cross of Christ be your only boast, and may you say, with sweet confidence, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.