We are all busy. We’ve all got problems that we see. We talk a lot about values and what keeps all of us from living them out. And yesterday we were discussing the value of Innovation. “Why do we not innovate more?” We asked. We had a number of different guesses.
Innovation is about change. It is often the enemy of short-term excellence, because it means changing the way things are done. If you change the way you do things, in the short-term, excellence is likely to dip as you learn the new process. But in the long-term, the change may mean that excellence increases.
“I see the need to look not only at doing new things, but at the need for change. If we can see the need for change, then we will find it easier to innovate. We need to see problems clearly and then commit to solutions.” Someone said.
And I responded, “It can be overwhelming. And when I get overwhelmed, I like looking at how Jesus dealt with things. How did he address the need for change?”
Jesus and problems
Jesus didn’t just come to rail against the Pharisees. Yes, the existing religious order was broken. Yes, the people were like sheep without a shepherd. Yes, they were sick and needed healing.
Jesus walked amongst them and healed their diseases. He showed us all the problem of sin and, in laying down his life, he gave us a solution to it. And along the way, when he said “follow me,” he was inviting people to change.
Change is not something most of us naturally love. It means risk and it usually means more work. But the world is changing under our feet – we have to change or we get left behind.
The problem with problems
In my conversation with our leaders yesterday and today, the conclusion we arrived at is that we need more young staff people who are able to embrace and drive change. At this point the meeting adjourned – we defined the problem and left.
In other words, we went 33% of the way toward change. We defined the problem – a necessary and wonderful start. But to get to a solution, we still need to define a solution (another 33%) and define a path to achieving the solution (another 33%).
Most of us have this tendency. We have so many issues filling our full lives that it is hard enough just understanding them, much less figuring out the path to resolving them.
So, we live life just muddling through, struggling to understand the events and circumstances that press in around us.
Committing to change
Jesus came to to set the captives free from their problems, and hey, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to create a world with more people who look like Jesus. We want to help people press into his promise of change – the promise of a full and abundant life.
Sometimes we just get stuck. We want to rise above our problems, but they drag us down.
So, here are some questions to speed us on our way:
Are you the kind of person who tends to live in your problems or move toward solutions?
What are the problems that you’ve committed to solving? Can you define a solution? What kind of empowerment would you need to be able to commit to it?
What can you do now with the Lord’s help that doesn’t require the approval or help of others?
Jesus told his disciples, “In this world you will have problems. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Wherever you are today, I pray that you are able to take heart and trust the overcomer who has the answers you’re looking for.