Missional Distractions: My Appetite

Confession

I must confess… I am a starter.  You might ask… “What do you mean?”  I love to start things.  It can be projects around the house.  It might be cool new websites.  I love to innovate, in other words, make things better.  I’ll call this the “starter drive”.  For the sake of this discussion let’s talk about it as our appetite.

Why appetite?

An appetite is something that God created.  Everyone has one… everyone at some point has a drive to eat food.  It a natural function of our bodies.  So, when I think about this “starter drive” its very similar to an appetite.

I heard a sermon from Andy Stanley about appetites in which he says, “Our appetites are never finally, and fully satisfied.”  The sermon was about the story of Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25).  Check out the story is you aren’t familiar with it.  It a great example of trading away the future for the immediate.

Missional Distraction?

As a young leader I have tons of drive to be an innovator in my fields of expertise (which isn’t much).  I love starting new initiatives, new projects, and new ways to inspire people towards the mission of Jesus.  It may be something else for you…

An appetite for:

  • Power
  • Influence
  • Respect
  • To be known for something cool.
  • ___________ (you fill in the blank.)

Since I work at a Church my “starter drive” is probably different than yours, but I hope you understand my point.

Keep It Simple

Here’s my point… (more for me than for you)…

My “starter drive” might never be finally and fully satisfied… I must recognize and embrace that principle.  I’m learning that I often become part of projects that are way too much for what my stomach can handle.  In the midst of LOVING new projects I say “YES” way too much!  For those of us who attempt to live a life of surrendering to the mission of Jesus; Satan loves it when we say “YES” to a lot of things and fill our stomachs to overflowing.  We’ve all had the moment where we’ve eaten so much that we can’t seem to function in a normal way… (I should have said “NO” to that 4th trip to the buffet line.)

I’m learning that in those moments I become less effective because I’m buried in new projects.  Yes – They are great projects for the mission of Jesus.  But, eating too much eventually becomes unhealthy and destroys my body.  Maybe great projects… but, maybe it’s not the right time.  Starters have to discipline ourselves to finish strong… with the same intensity in which we started.

Look at some examples:

  • Noah didn’t have multiple projects… he had 1 HUGE project that required God’s intervention to be successful.
  • Moses didn’t lead multiple different groups out of many different lands… he was sold out to the project of freeing the Hebrews & leading them to the promised land.
  • Gideon didn’t say yes to lots of things… he focused on the 1 thing God called him to do.

Yes, these guys accomplished lots… but they did not start multiple God SIZED projects at the same time.  They had a relentless FOCUS on the 1 thing.

It today’s economy “starters” are pushed to be immediately effective and complete projects in the fastest way possible.  Effectiveness and efficiency are great things… but, here’s the flaw in this immediate success mentality.  When results aren’t achieved in the short term we abandon the project for something “NEWER”.  Us with the “starter drive” are especially susceptible to this principle.  It’s far more exciting to start NEW than to finish strong.  Maybe that’s why I start something “NEWER” while trying to manage the other project… Maybe it’s a cycle… Project A, lack of immediate gradification, NEW project B, manage project A, lack of success project B, NEW project C,  Manage A & B, and it keeps going.  Could you imagine Noah, Moses, or Gideon, trying to do this?  We all know that it was God’s power that propelled them to success… but digging deeper… The inspired people because they started something with passion, and were just as passionate about the finish line.

2 Options to break the cycle:

  1. Modify project A to have more realistic goals & objectives, declare a destination of “finished”, and move on.  No matter success or failure.
  2. Abandon project A completely – Start from scratch.  (Don’t have time to dive into this… maybe in a later post – the Holy Spirit is who leads us to these decisions… that’s all I’ve got to say for now – be careful… Moses could have abandoned Israelites multiple times).

The Good News

God tell us that we aren’t part of this earthly kingdom, but rather, His kingdom.  Our missional project isn’t defined by current culture…

[26] At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” [27] This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. [28] Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, [29] for our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:26-29 ESV)

The bottom line for me: I’ve got to learn to say “NO” to some really good things, so that I can say “YES” to 1 God sized thing.

I can’t let Satan distort my appetite for the NEW and distract me from what God has called me to START and FINISH.

You agree or disagree? Start the discussion below… Who knows… maybe I’ve got this wrong.

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