By Mike Sanders, President and Founder of Junto Tribe
As I sit down to write this, Junto Tribe is coming off an off-site vision retreat where we discussed new and fresh direction, renewed strategy and realignment of the ministry, and set a solid path for moving forward into the future. In an attempt to simplify the weekend into a word – it was simply amazing.
But to stop at amazing would not do the whole experience any justice. I say that because, as I look back, it was also filled with powerful inspiration, hard work, intense focus, heavy discussion, and thoughtful problem solving. To be transparent, in many ways the weekend was also emotionally draining, sometimes overwhelming, exhausting, and yet, paradoxically energizing. With that said, back to my original summation, it was absolutely amazing.
It’s been a couple days since the retreat ended which has given me a chance to recover with restful reflection on the weekend. On that note, God has used the rest and restoration to move me to a new level of potential that could only be achieved by beginning and engaging in the aforementioned hard, exhaustive, and amazing work of the retreat. If anything, God has once again taught me a lesson through hard work, dedication, and sacrifice – all of which was realized once I began to rest. And for that, I give Him praise.
Have you ever been in my shoes? Has there ever been a moment in your life when you willingly took on a challenging cause for which you needed to be hyper-focused, intentionally targeted, and selflessly sacrificial? More importantly, have you felt the amazing process of growing closer to the people that you are in the challenge with? Have you noticed God’s close connection through it all? And to be clear, I’m not only referring to retreats or work. It would be wise to think also in terms of all areas of our lives. Maybe you could apply this to your family or personal challenge that needs to be faced. Whatever it is, we know that intentional hard work must come before rest if we’re ever to see our God do amazing things through us.
What’s God have to say about this? Let’s check in with the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV), where he writes:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
Here we see the Apostle Paul telling us something incredibly important that we must understand and plant (no pun intended) deeply in our hearts. In the most basic terms, he’s telling us that our output can only be matched by our input.
Our output, the potential we’re able to realize, largely and incredibly, lies at the foundation we created first through our input.
To shed a little more light on Paul’s Spirit led leadership, let’s begin a deeper dive with the words sparingly and generously.
Sparingly suggests approaching matters with ease, moderation, softness, or mildness. Contrarily, generously suggests abundance, liberality, bountifulness, and richness. The other important words in the passage are sowing and reaping. Sowing means to scatter, grow, seed, or multiply. Reaping, on the other hand, means to bring in, produce, receive, and realize. Paul is painting a picture of the relationship between input and output and potential change.
In order to do so, he’s incorporating the age-old process of what it takes to grow a yielding crop. Growing and yielding crops, especially in the days of Paul was extremely difficult, back-breaking, sweaty work that required pre-planning, careful thought, and know-how. Just like today, yielding nutritious fruit requires a clear, nutrient rich soil that requires nurturing, pruning, and attention if you’re going to achieve the goal you’re hoping to achieve. And let’s not forget, we need to plant the right, healthy seed in order to yield the crop we want. Which is what? We sow to achieve a harvest that feeds you, your family, the community, and maybe even the world.
In essence, this is exactly what we were doing this past weekend. We were hoping to bring a service to our community and the world around us. And with that, we intuitively knew that we needed to approach the challenge of achieving our goal through extremely hard, sweaty, attentive work to plan, think, and dream. We needed to clear the land, sow the right seed, create a plan for nurturing and fertilizing the hope, and work towards an amazing harvest. No wonder we were tired.
But what came from this? An amazing experience that will only grow into something even more amazing. We had a team that came together to serve God and His people – a worthy event. But there was also collateral increase that can only be achieved when people come together to create something bigger than the individual. We also nurtured and fertilized relationship and connectedness with one another that was fostered from a group of people longing to love God and love others. In fact, I can’t remember too many times in my life where I’ve felt so close and connected to others and to God as I did that weekend.
As I prayed over Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians, I began to pray the following prayer to God. I prayed:
“God, guide me. Give to me. Receive from me.”
Here’s what I mean by that.
- God, guide me – show me what it is that I, and the teams you have placed me with, can do for you and your people (remember, a team includes family, coworkers, community, etc).
- Give to me – give the tools, resources, gifts, and know-how to the team and me so that we may accomplish that work and service.
- Receive from me/us – inspire me/us to do the work – to give – to sacrifice for God and for His people. Essentially, giving back to Him what He has given my teams and me out of love and respect for Him and His people. This is our form of worship back to Him.
So what can you do with this?
- Pray – pray for guidance on where it is that God would like you to sow that seed. Maybe there is a relationship that needs to be mended. Maybe God has put something on your heart – an idea or service that needs to be shared with the world. Write it down. Think. Mull it over. Pray more. Execute the mission.
- Give – give to your family, your community, or the world what God has guided you towards. Plan. Sow. Nurture. Harvest.
- Lovingly ask God to receive – take what He’s given you and offer it back to Him as a form of worship. Yes, when you work towards the goal He’s given you, you are engaging in a form of worship. What would the world look like if we were in a state of perpetual worship?
- Ask the question “Who needs God’s gift? Your family? Your workplace? Your community? Your church? Don’t forget, God actually longs to co-labor with you in bringing His kingdom values to fruition.
Men! Imagine a world in which we were in constant, thoughtful engagement with our Creator and the people of the world. What we put in is what we get out.
So I ask you, “Do you have what it takes to be the man this world is yawing and creaking for? The church of Jesus needs “Yes men.” I mean, are you willing to say yes to Jesus who will send you on an adventure of a lifetime? Do we really believe He is who He says He is? If so, stop consuming and start acting. Say yes. Imagine a world of men that were tearing down the enemy’s strongholds by simply saying “yes!”
Now go forth! Sow the seeds of God’s love and guidance and watch what happens. You’ll never be the same and neither will the people you take with you.
What will you do? Seek. Adapt. Go Forth. And endure.
Discover more from Jotun Trub Ministries: https://mikesandershp.com/blog