More More

Last week, I wrote an entry titled No More More that discussed our cultural obsession with more—more things, more variety, more experiences, more of just about everything. God has hit the pause button on all that and is about to reboot the world's economies, and the shake out and shake up will be significant. Yet there is a more that God does want and I thought I would discuss that this week under the title Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 7.43.48 PM"More More." My thoughts on this began when I read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 this morning:

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more . . .

There is a more that God is interested in but it isn't the abundance of possessions; it is more love practically expressed first to the household of God and then to the world. In our pursuit of the wrong more, we suddenly did not have much time for the more more that God desired and that more is service to others in the power of our purpose and with the flare of our creativity.

My study of more didn't stop there, for then I did a search of the word more in the gospels and I came across a promise that Jesus made: "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them" (Matthew 13:12). This more is in the area of knowledge concerning the things of God, and it is interesting that this concept is mentioned in the three synoptic gospels—but is not limited to knowledge. Not to be left out, John describes his concept of more in John 15:1-2: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." Define fruit however you wish, but however you do, be sure that God wants more of it.

I have counseled and talked with many people who are quite satisfied with no more. They are content with where they are, and are diligent to protect their privacy and way of life. God would have to break into their world with a spiritual crowbar before they would consider doing more for missions, being more creative, or being more involved. Yet notice the promises in Matthew and John. Jesus promised that those who have will get more; they have no choice in the matter. If they are fruitful, God will prune them so they will produce more fruit. You get the idea that God wants more more from you, for you, and through you, and there is no discussion about it. That's His will and plan.

When I have taught on the concept of organization, I have taught that we must organize our lives to handle more more. That isn't about stuff, for if anything we need to have less of that kind of more. Yet how can you organize your life and world to produce the more more that God intends for you? I have organized my life, my office, my schedule, my connections, and my entire world to produce more: more books, more insight, more service. When I had mastered the art of writing books, I started a publishing company. Why? To make more money? Hardly! It was to structure my life so I could produce more. I had a say in that, but my only say was yes or no. When I said yes, then I had to invest my finances, and position my life to receive and support the more more. 

What are your thoughts on more more? Do you think it's God's will for you? Do you think this season may have come to help you have less of the wrong more focus and more on the more more? I was so taken with this topic today that I decided that my next book after Proverbs 31 Men is done is going to be titled The Gospel of More, and it won't be about possessions. It will be about the right kind of more more. The sooner we can settle in our minds and hearts that God wants more and that more more is not an option, the sooner we can get about preparing and then realizing more. And if that is the result of this pandemic, it will have a redemptive harvest that was fertilized by the pain and suffering of people the world over as they embrace no more more and accept the fact that God wants more of the right kind of more.

W47D6 - Organization

"When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom
of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of
his table, the sitting of his servants, the attendance of
his officials, their clothing, his cup bearers, and his
ascent by which he went up to Yahweh’s house;
there was no more spirit in her" - 1 Kings 10:3-5.

Solomon presided over what could be called the glory days of Israel, when resources were plentiful and and royal activity was at an all-time high. Solomon was teaching, building, lecturing and expanding the kingdom, and he entertained foreign dignitaries who came to hear his wisdom. The Queen of Sheba 'saw' Solomon's wisdom in how he had organized his kingdom to handle all this activity and she was impressed - and this was a woman who had a large kingdom and operation in her own right. Leaders must at some point pay attention to how they will organize everything they do and produce to maximize its exposure, profits or impact. Disorganization will cost any organization something and leaders must address this eventually, no matter how visionary or entrepreneurial they may be.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to evaluate your company's organizational prowess - or lack of it. Are you more visionary or administrative? If you are visionary, then who is your counterpart in your world? Who handles the details and pays attention to the policies, human resources, and all the other unexciting but necessary practices for successful business? Do you honor this person and their gift or do you see it and them as necessary pain to be tolerated?

W42D6 - Organization

"A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined" - Proverbs 14:28.

God has put the drive for 'more' in all of creation. All species look to increase and the same drive is in humans, not just to reproduce but to expand and grow their skills, enterprises, influence, and love. While this growth can be used for and directed toward selfish gains, that doesn't mean that all increase must be avoided or is misguided. The key is not to avoid 'more' but to embrace it for the right reasons and that would be to glorify the God who put the desire for more in every person. Leaders must help direct the 'more' efforts in their organizations, keeping the motives righteous while honoring this God-given drive for 'more' found in all the earth.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine what your company, family or ministry thinks about 'more.' Do you avoid 'more' just because it upsets the status quo and puts too much pressure on you or your team? Do you want 'more' for the wrong reasons—to become the biggest or best in order to win the 'more' competition? Are you fearful of more, thus spinning 'small' or 'less' as superior spiritually or ethically to 'more'? Are you averse to 'more' or 'more' friendly?

W37D6 - Organization

(Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir;
and from there they brought great cargoes
of almugwood and precious stones. The king
used the almugwood to make supports for the
temple of the Lord and for the royal palace,
and to make harps and lyres for the musicians.
So much almugwood has never been imported
or seen since that day) - 1 Kings 10:11-12.

Solomon's kingdom had to learn how to handle growth and expansion, which meant he and his advisors had to address how they were going to organize their work, inventory, logistics and supplies. Because it is more work and requires new knowledge and skills, some companies and leaders choose not to grow, considering it more trouble than it's worth. Yet there is nothing wrong with - and it may even be God's will - increase as seen in today's passage, so there must have an organizational strategy or philosophy that enables entities to handle more than they have now. That means that wanting 'more' is not always wrong, but may be God's plan.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your attitude toward increase. Your fear of handling more may be a roadblock to your company's expansion and your own growth as a leader. Thus, you may oppose new product lines, methods, acquisitions and services because you are not prepared to go through the changes required to organize a larger sphere of influence. Are you biased against more or bigger? If so, why is that? What can you do to change?

W32D6 - Organization

"Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter" - Ezra 5:17.

All leaders have to pay attention to the organization and efficiency of their organization, even the church. In today's verse, we see that Babylon had archives that were accessible and available for research. These archives had to have people overseeing them and some reasonable filing and storage method. Once the research was finished on the question at hand, the king then had to communicate his decision as to the way forward quickly and effectively—again requiring organizational efficiency. Leaders must attend to the matters of organization and structure so their entities can have access to past decisions and communicate present ones to those who need to know.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to tend to the organizational capabilities of your company (or family). Do you have archives of photos and important documents? Where are they stored and how public or accessible are they? Then take a look at the communication efficiency of your team or company. Are you structured and disciplined enough to get important messages to those who need to know? Are you communicating too much or too little? Is it possible to communicate too much or too often? Make sure as a leader you are modeling the organizational skill you desire others to have.

W27D6 - Organization

"We took such a violent battering from
 the storm that the next day they began
to throw the cargo overboard" - Acts 27:18.

When Paul's ship was heading to Rome, it encountered a terrible storm for many days. It became so bad that the ship had to jettison its cargo to be more nimble and maneuverable in the storm. There is a leadership lesson in that story, for leaders and their organizations often become too 'heavy' and weighed down with rules, procedures and middle managers. Then when a 'storm' hits - an economic downturn, unexpected setback, new competitors, a career change - they find it hard to compete under the new conditions. This often requires a re-organization, restructuring or a 'downsizing' to restore the flexibility needed to navigate through stormy waters.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you too 'heavy' for the stormy waters you or your company are in? Then it's time to jettison some cargo! Your Step today is to form a change team that will look to reorganize your company or your personal world. This should include all aspects of your business, including personnel, and nothing is off limits. Your goal is not organization for its own sake or to reduce costs, but to become more nimble, capable of embracing current turbulent realities.

W22D6 - Organization

"Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God
has made all this known to you, there is
no one so discerning and wise as you. You
shall be in charge of my palace, and all my
people are to submit to your orders. Only
with respect to the throne will I be greater
than you'" - Genesis 41:39-40.

Joseph's Pharaoh was the 'good' Pharaoh in Scripture because he recognized talent, knew how to delegate responsibility and then get out of the way so his people could do their jobs. In today's verses he set up clear duties along with a clear chain of command that took full advantage of Joseph's insight into the problem and the solution. What's more, Pharaoh wasn't threatened by Joseph's insight or wisdom, eliminating Joseph's need to be political or careful to be too talented or too 'in charge' around the throne. Leaders can learn many lessons from this 'good' Pharaoh about organization, handling gifted staff, delegation and crisis management.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Step involves taking a closer look at this 'good' Pharaoh to see what else you can learn about how to lead, manage and organize. First, take some time to read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41-50. Second, read the article below that highlights some points about Pharaoh's leadership style from the biblical narrative. Finally, identify some takeaways from the account and article to apply to your own leadership situation.

Download Site Joseph and Pharaoh

W17D6 - Organization

"Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you
who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will
turn this responsibility over to them and will give our
attention to prayer and the ministry of the word" - Acts 6:3-4.

As the early church grew, the apostles did not have an organizational problem in this passage; they had a people problem. They had too much work and not enough people. Rather than take on more work themselves, they opted to identify new workers. Leaders must face the challenge of how to organize their work not only when they start, but as they and the organization grow. The answer is not always to do more or less, but to put the right people in the right places doing the things they do best.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today is a good day to do a staff assessment or an analysis of your own workload. Prepare to do a time inventory for your team (and yourself). Have them each do a time inventory log for the next week, keeping track in half hour groupings what they did every day for the week. Then have them total the amounts by category (phone, customers, reports, etc) and have a meeting to discuss the workload and whether it's time to bring on more people.

W12D6 - Organization

“Dominion and awe belong to God;
    he establishes order in the heights of heaven" - Job 25:2.

When you think of it, heaven is an organized entity. There is rank among the angels, clarity of communication, assignments given, understood and carried out and punctuality (God is always on time). There is never confusion and everything is in its place and functioning properly. If God values order in heaven, He must also value it here on earth, for the Lord's prayer states, "Your will be done here as it is in heaven." Therefore leaders must spend some of their time and energy organizing their personal and professional world. When they do, they can count on God's help because He is the author of order.

LEADERSHIP STEP: On a scale of 1 to 10, evaluate how well your various 'worlds' are organized - work, family, ministry, school. etc. (10 is excellent, 1 is poor). Which one has the lowest score? Your Step today is to devote 30 minutes to thinking through the improvements you can make. Then make a to-list for next week of things you can do to improve (buy a planner, read a book, consult with an expert, clean off or out your desk, discard things you don't use).

W7D6 - Organization

"But when you blow an alarm, the camps that are pitched on the east side shall set out" - Numbers 10:6.

When Israel moved through the desert, Moses had to coordinate the movements of millions of people and livestock. That required structure and organization so that each start and then each stop had rhythm and sequence, on in other words had organization. The answer for this challenge could not be to shrink Israel down to where it was small and manageable, but to learn how to organize something complex. There are some leaders who don't want their organization to get too big because they don't want to be bothered with the problems, but they then thwart the full impact God would have them and their group or organization make on the world.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you biased against 'big' in your organization? If so, today would be good day to identify why. Do you fear not having the ability to handle its challenges? Is it a wrong perspective on 'big', that somehow it's not God's will? Whatever reasons you uncover, develop a plan to grow beyond that fear, whether through education, hiring people who can handle 'big,' or repenting of lack of faith. Remember: If it's too big for you to lead and manage, it's not too big for God to help you do either!