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A Time to Grow

When I landed my first job as a director, I remember thinking, “Look ma, I made it!” But I quickly learned that I was a small fish in the sea, and that to prove myself, I would need to get “bigger.” Every training I attended and every conversation I had seemed to be about landing the next big contract. “How big is your budget?” was a frequently asked question among my peers, and seemed to play heavily in regulating our levels of serotonin. But amid the chorus of voices urging me to be a shark or at the very least, a blowfish (look bigger than you are), there were a few outliers. I remember a director from another org who warned me that bigger is not necessarily better. “Easy for him to say,” I thought. His budget was 20 million dollars (a heck of a lot more than mine). I wrote him off.

The reality check came a few years later, when my office was unceremoniously cut due to “other strategic priorities” for the organization. It was devastating. What on earth had I been doing for the past three years? The “kingdom” I had poured my blood, sweat, and tears into was gone in a single phone call. But I also remembered that it was never my kingdom that I had set out to build in the first place, but rather God’s, and that God’s kingdom is not measured in dollars and cents. It is measured in faithfulness, love, obedience, and trust among those that choose to call him Lord.

The Apostle Paul tells us that as builders of God’s enduring kingdom, we need to be very careful about how we build and the materials we choose to focus on (1st Cor. 3). The cheaper stuff won’t last when put to the test, either by a change in strategy, a coronavirus, or a judgment day inferno. But what we do for the good of others by the grace of God is like a gold brick or a precious stone that will count for eternity.

Friends, unless you happen to work for Amazon, Netflix, or a manufacturer of toilet paper, you’re likely headed for some leaner times as a result of this pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you should stop growing. If you can give up the “bigger is better” mentality, you might well find ways to look back on this season as a powerful time of testing and growth both for you and your organization. What might this growth look like amid the fear, uncertainty, and the painful “belt-tightening” that’s happening all across the world?

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