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Trees vs Forests

Fishing Time!A little kid popped in one morning holding up a large fish. “Teacher,” he said, “you taught us to give God at least one-tenth. So here, I’ve brought Him my tenth.” The teacher asked: “Where are the other nine?” The boy beamed and replied from his ‘seed faith’: “Oh, they’re still in the river. I’m going back to catch them now.”

In 1546, Mr. J. Heywood coined a phrase: “Ye see not your owne ease. Ye cannot see the wood for the trees.” (translated from 450 year old English: “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”)

A chap from South Africa (with whom I teach) just wrote: “I’m feeling pretty chuffed with myself. I noticed that a colleague had over 2000 emails in his Inbox. I asked if that bothered him and if he was interested in having an empty Inbox. Ten minutes of explanation and five hours of work on his behalf ended with him smiling at his empty Inbox. He has a serious ‘To Do’ list but he feels it is under control. Nice to be useful.”

When two other friends heard what he’d done they responded:

“I’m also guilty in this area. I had 4000 a while ago! Important stuff is attended to but not filed. Maybe I will give u a shout.”

“We need to talk, I was just bragging at getting my inbox down from 11,000 to 5,000!!!!”

Even though so much un-tended mail boggles my head, I’m real pleased to see that the principles we teach about ‘Biblical Basis for Planning & Management’ do actually sort out the trees and the forest! J

Can you remember those seven spiritual gifts that Paul identified in Romans 12? In my last note I mentioned that those who have the gift of Ruler do not volunteer. Usually they themselves don’t even know why they hesitate to volunteer! But, Servers, another motivational gift, volunteer for everything. Even if they feel uncomfortable and unqualified they will step forward. These two giftings usually represent the busiest people in a community. But they’re busy for two very different and inherent reasons. I cringe at announcements asking folks to volunteer for something. Often the wrong people volunteer and the right ones stand aside. But, there is a reason why. My “Understanding How Others Misunderstand You” course clarifies the ‘trees from the forest’ of these motivational gifts. I delve into Biblical information extensively. Understanding provides foundational insight for interpreting personality styles, leadership types, birth order, gender, culture and environments that mould individuals into the unique person they are. Most of the conflict in relationships comes from a lack of understanding of the battlefields and birthrights of each of the seven gifts.

I’ve appreciated being able to teach this course because it allows me to stand back seeing the forest without being encumbered with the quirks of individual trees.

One person said: “You are blessed with seeing a big picture of God’s perspective on the world and the thing you have been called to do.”

Another wrote: “I really love what you are doing. Do you know why??? Because few people have realized the need to teach and equip leaders and congregations. Most people are focused on evangelism, which is good, but when the people are not taught, they cannot live their lives the way God intended for them. They cannot glorify God in some ways because they don’t know what to do. Sometimes they don’t even know their identity in Christ. And that limits Christians so much. So thank you for what you and your wife are doing for the Body of Christ. I pray that God will raise other people like you.”           

 Are you the one who has been praying for me as I teach this ‘understanding how to better understand’? Thanks for doing that. You can include prayers that opportunities to teach this ‘conflict resolution’ material will assist even more individuals.


(original post June 5, 2014)


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