I have started having my first of the year meetings with various clients and I have never seen or experienced as much unrest at the beginning of any year as I have in 2013. Even though the election is over and we have avoided the fiscal cliff, small businesses are still getting hammered in the economy. Many companies have lost significant portions of their business during the last year and I think that this is due to the uncertainly that is still on the horizon and also the fact that these companies have tried to weather out the fiscal storms for a number of years now and they are finally losing momentum – their cash reserves are gone and they don’t have the staying power that larger companies have.
I tend to call this porcupine mode – that time when I advise people to roll up in a ball and stick their quills out to avoid getting eaten by the bigger players in the game. But you can only go into protection mode for a certain length of time until you starve to death – and that’s what happening to all these small companies. They are just running out of resources and can’t do all the things they need to do to grow their companies.
When people get anxious about the future, they tend to shut down and get paralyzed by fear. They are afraid to make the wrong decision so they don’t make any decision. This leads to a continual decline in performance and is difficult to reverse. And if the situation calls for a new kind of leadership that is unfamiliar to the executive team, things can decline even further if trust isn’t present.
When I run across situations like this in my consulting practice, I usually prescribe a good strong dose of faith. After all, God is still on the throne and He wants success for His people. The Bible is full of examples of people who tried to go it alone and were unsuccessful. Yet, even when the odds were long against success, people who had faith in God were delivered and many more times than not, were highly rewarded for their faith. I know in my own life that I have tried to stop worrying about business and about the future.
Janet and I firmly believe that God will provide the business and the clients that we are supposed to have. Now you won’t find that business model at Harvard or any other secular institution, but believe it or not, you may well find that school of thought in seminaries. I know that it sounds very strange to most people. After all, God does us expect us to take the first step and try to help ourselves, but it is important to remember that we can’t control the result – that’s God’s domain. We are only responsible for the effort.
Whether it is David going into battle greatly outnumbered, or the story of the fall of Jericho, or any number of other stories where God’s legions were victorious, it is vitally important to trust God to come through. In fact, I will tell you that I EXPECT God to come through. And Janet feels exactly the same way about it.
The verse for this evening is from 2 Chr. 20:20, “Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” This story has to do with the uprising and subsequent fight on behalf of Jehoshaphat. His troops were told that God would deliver them. But they had to have faith. That’s what we need – faith that God is with us.
So as we start this new year, my encouragement this evening is to urge you to have faith in God; that He will come through for you. My prayer is that you will not hesitate to do the work, remembering that the result is up to God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…