Doing the little things

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV)

This past Monday I helped facilitate a new peer learning group for ministry leaders in the Fayetteville area with the Innovative Church Community. We had a great time unpacking a teaching by Bill Hybels entitled, “Passing the Leadership Test.” Hybels gives five tests for leadership that he learned from the way Jesus called Peter. I really related to all five of the “tests,” but one really resonated with me. It was the one that Hybels called “The Bias for Action” test.

Hybels illustrates his point by telling a story about having a large number of people over to his house for a meal. As the evening winded down, Hybels headed to the kitchen sink and began washing dishes. Soon, he noticed someone standing at his side helping. He said of all the people there, this one man moved to help. Hybels goes on to say that this fellow now works on his leadership team and is a significant church leader. Hybels says he wants people on his team that are willing to do something, people with a bias for action.

When I first graduated from college and was offered a job at a major corporation, I asked my Uncle Clyde (who was the president of a bank at the time) if he had any advice for me.

He said, “Son, when the boss says sweep, you sweep with all you’ve got.”

I shook my head and smiled in response as I looked around his rich paneled office thinking what odd advice from such an influential man.

“Oh, OK.” I responded.

Even if I didn’t understand the significance of my uncle’s advice at the time, I still followed it. When I began my job as a management trainee, I was determined to do whatever the boss said, no matter how menial.

Guess what. The advice worked. I was promoted from Assistant Store Manager to Store Manager then to Area Manager and finally District Manager over 20 stores by the time I was 25 years old. I was the youngest DM in the company at the time.

My secret? When the boss said “sweep,” I swept. Funny how when I was faithful to do the little things, they kept promoting me and trusting me with more.

This Sunday we’ll be talking about a man named Stephen. The Bible says he was full of the Spirit and wisdom. If anyone was ever over-qualified for a job, it was Stephen. Yet, when the apostles asked him to wait tables, he took the job on willingly. He wasn’t unwilling to serve. There was no job beneath him.

And so, God promoted him and made him one of the most powerful preachers of his time. A whole missionary movement to the Greeks began with him.

Stephen was a hero because he was faithful to do the little things.

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