In an effort to be more productive, I sometimes find myself actually becoming less fruitful. My days are busier and fuller than ever but not necessarily with important things. When Charles Hummel coined the phrase, the “tyranny of the urgent,” the Internet as we know it didn’t even exist. We weren’t doing email. Most people had no access to computers and couldn’t envision a time when anyone would need a “personal computer.”
Well, the times — and expectations — have changed. My predecessor told me that on the day he became area director, he stepped into his office and said to himself, “What do I do today?” There were no emails or faxes. International phone calls cost a lot of money, and many of our people had to go to central offices in their cities to make such calls. If requests didn’t come in by mail or phone, they didn’t come. Plus, there were probably less than 20 units in this entire area.
Demands and expectations have certainly changed. It’s easy to confuse efficiency and effectiveness in the Digital Age. I want to have both in our area, but in order to do so, I have to be willing to give away a lot. This can be a painful process. Veterans feel a bit cheated as they no longer have direct access to me when making decisions about field ministry, and I feel a bit cheated as I like that “up-to-my-elbows” approach to ministry. However, for Live Dead Arab World to grow, I must be willing to step back and say, what’s good for the area and what’s good for me in the long run may be less of me, not more of me. It’s so easy to connect (and stay connected) today. Technology can be a good tool. But that’s all it is, a tool. And tools make terrible masters.
I keep reminding myself that the only two important things that will be in heaven are God and people. I want to give my best to God and then use the wisdom and gifts He gives me to serve His people more…even if that means doing less. I tell our team leaders that I have the same expectation for them. Their teams won’t follow them because they are efficient; they will follow because they trust and like them. Teams only gain that trust by living with the leaders through thick and thin.
I encourage all of us: Give yourself to God and to the people God has brought your way. They are God-given treasures.