Blog
January 30, 2017

To Catch the Wind, Hoist Your Sail


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Success is not just a matter of being in the right place at the right time – it’s more a matter of being ready when the right time arrives. Far too many opportunities are lost not because people aren’t in the right place, but because they are not ready. The concept of wind captures the essence of this principle. If I’m in a sailboat on Lake Michigan, what role does the wind play in my journey? Without the wind, the journey will be slow and difficult – if not impossible. I need the wind. But just because the wind blows doesn’t mean my journey will be easier or quicker. Unless I hoist my sail, the blowing wind does no good. I’m in the right place at the right time – but I’m not ready.

The same is true in leadership and ministry – to catch the wind of the Spirit, hoist your sail. Always be ready for the wind to blow! And how do we hoist our sail? Through spiritual disciplines – through a life spent in consistently developing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Two of the disciplines are especially important in preparation for the wind: prayer and reading the Word. Unless we spend consistent time praying and reading, our sail stays down.

As I reflect upon my life I regret the many opportunities I missed because I had slipped in my disciplines. Maintaining them, in fact, has been one of the toughest and longest struggles of my ministry. So I write not as one who has done it well, but as one who wishes he had. The greatest thing you can do for yourself and your ministry – and your life – is to consistently read the Word and pray. I believe this so strongly that I once inserted an additional line in everyone’s job description – “be faithful in reading the Word and praying.” Each member of staff was to tithe on the hours spent in ministry. If they worked 15 hours a week for the church, then 1.5 of those hours were to be spent in Bible reading and prayer; if they spent 40 hours a week, then 4 hours, etc. I did not want you them increase their hours to do this, but to include this in their hours. I knew it would be tough, especially at the beginning; their hours were already full – the truth is they worked more hours than they were contracted for. But I guaranteed that if they did it faithfully they would find that their work would still get done – perhaps even more efficiently! Their ministry, far from suffering, would be enhanced. Why? Because in a mission church – a church for others – we do mission with God, not for God; so we need to be with Him.

Will this guarantee overwhelming daily success and thrilling daily experiences with the Holy Spirit? No – as Jesus said, the wind blows when and where it wills. We cannot control the wind – but we can control our readiness. So, to catch the wind, hoist your sail.

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