Jump Start # 3231
NOTE: With Christmas being on Sunday, we will not have a Jump Start on Monday.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 “A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak.”
We have been exploring the subject of contentment. And when one opens the door to that subject, many questions of application seem to surface. What is a person to do when things could be better, but they are not?
· At work poor leadership allowed an environment to develop in which there seems to be very little team spirit. Everyone only looks after self and no one goes out of their way for anyone else. A lot of blame and finger pointing takes place. It could be so much better. As a disciple, am I to just let those things be and be content?
· At home, things could be so much better. The family has slipped into the habit of everyone being glued to their phone from the moment they get up until the moment they go to bed. There is very little talking that takes place. Everyone is growing older, but it doesn’t seem that they are growing closer to one another. It could be so much better. As a disciple, am I just to let those things be an be content?
· In our country, there are so many things that seem broken and heading away from God. Progressiveness has made things worse not better. From the local level, all the way up to the national level, things seem out of place. As a disciple, am I just to let those things be and be content?
· In the congregation, things could be so much better. The announcements ramble on and do not seem very appealing or inviting to a visitor. The classes seem too casual. There seems to be an indifference as to just when services begin. Sometimes the song leader is picking out his songs as he is walking to the front to lead them. There is a communication problem because the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. No one seems to be at the helm of the ship. The building could use some real deep cleaning. There are things ought to be pitched. You see these things but are you to just let them be and be content?
All of these makes us think of our passage today, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Talking all the time is not good. Being quiet all the time is also not good. But just when is it the time. When does one speak up and when ought one to be quiet? Are we lacking contentment if things bother us and we want change? We’d be a nation of England with slaves if some brave souls had not risen up and challenged the current systems. Those challenges came with serious costs, including war.
To be honest, I struggle with these things. I’m not sure if I have the right answers. But here are some suggestions:
First, we must never tolerate nor be content with wrong. Wrong needs to be stopped. Wrong doesn’t change nor become right because no one said anything. Much too often, what we struggle with is not something that is so clear as right and wrong. It’s more of a matter of good but it could be better.
Second, our spirit, attitude, words, tone has much to do with how to lead through change. Busting in with both guns blazing works in a Western movie. It doesn’t do well when dealing with people at work, home or the church. Threatening puts people on the defensive and isn’t good. Some have never thought about how things could be better. Some lack the drive, even if they saw it, to make a change.
Think and pray through things. Put thoughts on a piece of paper and let it sit there. Consider consequences, people’s reactions and how to lead others to see that things could be better. Making it positive rather than a negative has much to do with whether success will take place.
Third, you must include yourself in the solution process. Expecting others to change just because you said so, usually doesn’t go far. Offering to help clean up a room, organize things better, and bring about the changes is necessary. Keep the big picture in the front and yourself in the back. It’s not about you, your idea, your way, but this would be a more efficient way for the office to be run. This would help people remember announcements better. This would help us to understand each other more. The purpose is making things better for all. It’s not about getting your way.
Fourth, understand that your idea may be modified, adjusted and even changed somewhat. The end product may not look like you originally planned, but if more are getting on the same page of making things better, then more positive and constructive good will take place. Don’t throw a fit if your ideas get changed some. There may be aspects you have not considered. There may be other factors that you failed to see.
And, if your ideas are resisted and shot down even before they are given a chance, don’t threaten, leave, or get ugly. Fall back. Regroup. Pray harder. Dig deeper. Find a way that puts before others how great things could be.
Contentment—it’s a tough topic. It’s easy to preach. It’s easy to read in our Bibles. But when it comes to life, we struggle with when and how to be content.