There was once a little boy about three years old who went to get some eggs out of the chicken coup. He attempted to hold two, maybe three eggs in each hand and carry them out all at once. But his hands were too small to handle such a large burden, so the eggs started falling and splattering while the chickens freaked and the roosters attacked.
The boy was scared and felt overwhelmed. He felt like a chicken. What kind of man can’t hold three lousy eggs in one hand? What kind of man can’t handle a lot all at once?
I have a proclivity at attempting to juggle multiple projects at once: many things started and few ideas finished. And the things have have been started, because there are so many, fall off my plate, splatter on the ground, the world goes wild, and failure reigns for a period of time. But what’s the point? There are two lessons that I’m learning from this which I hope will bless you. May it be of use for you.
- What will you say no to?
- What is the golden egg?
What will you say no to?
We like like to make task lists, goal lists, resolutions, and to-dos. These are good and have their place. However, more recently I’ve been challenged to start thinking about being sacrificial because that is one essential thing what we as men are called to do. When we say yes to something, we are in essence sacrificing one thing for another-we are saying no to something else. As one who tends to be an automatic “yes man”, wanting to be liked by people and wanting to please everyone in his sight, saying no is a difficult challenge. But saying no can be one of the most freeing and paradoxical blessings we can experience.
Rather than saying “no” unintentionally by agreeing to something, consider this question: what pursuits are we intentionally going to say no to? What people will be choose to stop being around? A verse that comes to mind: “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” (Rom 12:16.) This gives us some guidance as to who we will say no to: this can be an extremely difficult and painful task to bear. Yet, “For the joy set before him, [Christ] endured the cross” (Heb 12:2).
The reason it’s easy to loose focus in business is because by continually being busy doing everything seems like productivity, yet it’s just haste, busyness, and going in circles. Doing everything turns into finishing nothing. Until we make a firm decision of who we are not going to be, our business will seem like it’s going nowhere. And because we are called to live an integrated life, one that is all encompassing, we must also answer that question and, if needed, make a list of who or what we will not do as a man of God.
The Golden Egg?
If you’re human, then your life is packed with all sorts of activities, desires, appointments, family outings, parties, tournaments, church group meetings, date nights, movie nights, obligations, responsibilities. Oh and there’s also sleep and quiet time. We are circus clowns learning to juggle in front of an audience. We are all part of a tapestry being woven by God from beginning of time till end of time. With so much on our plate you most likely can’t say “No” to it all and assume everything will be fine. There are eggs that we cannot drop.
We need to be aware of what those golden eggs are. The ones that are most precious, most valuable, and the greatest joy producers. Often times it can be deceiving. Fools gold looks great. Real gold must be refined before it shines. Often times our loves are misplaced and our values have been skewed. For men, we often times place a large value on our work and we ought to consider if that is our highest responsibility in the eyes of God and in the grand scheme of life.
Instead of piling on more eggs on your plate, consider which eggs you will choose to not put on your plate. If you’ve already piled on to many eggs, then protect the highest priority golden egg. At the same time pile eggs onto your plate and don’t be afraid of letting them fall off as long as you make sure they are the right eggs falling off to splatter: you don’t want roosters attacking you.