One New Project – What Are You Building?
I am a firm believer that at any point in time, each of us needs to have one significant new project on the go. Not 3 or 4 (impossible). Not zero (lazy). Just one. Here’s why.
My Year So Far …
Here we are and it’s the 1st of April already. No, don’t worry, this isn’t an April Fool’s day post! My point is simply that so much of the year has already slipped by so quickly, that it’s hard to believe. It makes you ask – What Have I achieved?
Now, you may have noticed that this blog site has been down (due to problems with a difficult Internet Service Provider [ISP]) since the end of January; the best part of two months. Some will, I know, have been wondering What’s happened to Berni Dymet’s weekly blog posts?
That’s not an unreasonable question. Why haven’t I put more of an emphasis on urgently getting it back up again?
Quite simply, because I’ve had some other projects on the go, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s this: my capacity, anybody’s capacity, to have more than one, significant project on the way above and beyond their day-to-day commitments is severely limited.
Here’s How Hitler Lost WWII
Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich lost WWII for one main reason: against the advice of his generals, Hitler opened a third front. He was fighting in the East, in the West and in the South. Now, I’m not suggesting that the fact that he lost WWII is a bad thing. I’m simply making the point that when we try to fight on too many fronts, we spread our resources too thinly, and we lose our focus.
And that means we end up not achieving the things we set out to achieve.
So far this year, I’ve kicked off the production of a new weekly television program for the Indian market and managed a rather large and complex project to call many of our supporters to invite them to give monthly to the ministry – something that required much sensitivity and a project which has yielded a beneficial result, praise God!
In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be launching my new, daily, eDevotional, containing a Scripture verse, some brief words of encouragement and a 60 second audio message (which too has required a lot of effort above and beyond the day-to-day operations).
Those have been the projects that I’ve been working on since mid January. And the reality has been, that the very significant project of moving this blog site to a new ISP, has had to fit in between those major projects that were planned for Q1 of 2014, because all of these major projects (4 so far in two and a half months) come above and beyond the daily running of the ministry of Christianityworks, the writing and production of about ten radio programs each week and all the other things I have going on in my life.
Okay – why am I sharing all this with you?
Because none of us can live a stagnant life, without going stale, right? And what we need sometimes is some practical, rubber-hits-the-road wisdom, on how yo move things forward. Some people attempt too little. Others too much. Both result in failure.
So that’s why I make a distinction between the day-to-day business as usual, and the above-and-beyond project work which needs to be prioritised and scheduled. It’s true in our work life, and it’s true in our personal life.
Focus is everything. It’s what makes sure that we achieve what we set out to achieve.
That is, of course, provided that we’re setting out to achieve the right sorts of things.
Focussing on the Right Things
I’ve always been fascinated by the story of the Tower of Babel. It’s very short, so here it is:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:1-8)
How easy is it for us in life, to set out to build something that seems good to us, that’s for our own glory rather than God’s.
It’s one thing sharing with you a bit of practical wisdom on how to schedule and manage new things in our lives. That’s great. But picking the right things to focus our energies on, is even more important than that.
So – you’re planning a new project.
Who’s it for? You or God?
Who will get the glory when it’s done? You … or God?
That’s the test that I apply to each and every new thing that I throw my energies into. Because the last thing I need is to be working against God, and have Him throw everything into confusion.
Just think about that tower – Come let us build for ourselves … a tower with its top in the heavens and let us make a name for ourselves. Seemed like a good plan at the time. Let’s be bold. Let’s have a grand plan. Let’s build something right up to the heavens.
And so what did God do? The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the mortals had built. In other words, to Him, it was a puny thing, set up in pride by people who were putting their trust in themselves, rather than in Him.
So He confused them – that’s literally what “Babel” means – and scattered them over the face of the earth so that they left off building the city.
That’s what happens, when you work against God’s plans.
Pride Comes Before the Fall
Pride – that sense of self-importance, that sense of leaving our mark on this world – is the one way to ensure that God will oppose us each and every step of the way:
Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:5,6)
So by all means set out to achieve great things. Stretch yourself. Focus. But do it for the right reasons. Do it for Him, and not for you.
Let me leave you with some words I saw at a church in India that I visited recently:
Expect great things of God. Attempt great things for God.
Not a bad bit of advice really.