This past weekend I had the opportunity to hang out with 70 men up in Cave Creek, AZ for a retreat. The organization is called UPI (Unlimited Potential Incorporated) and most of the guys are current or former professional baseball players. We encourage each other and talk about our struggles as husbands, fathers and leaders. The most significant thing we do is talk about Jesus.
I have been going to these retreats, which are always in early January, for at least 5 years now, and they always get me focused on what is important going into a new year. We had impactful messages all weekend long and the leaders of the organization did a great job being transparent with us. On the final day Mickey Weston, UPIs director, talked about sharing our faith with others and gave us an example of a sponge. It resonated with me and led me to share it with you today.
Receiving and Releasing
What is the job of a sponge? To soak things up. Now while this is true, what good is a wet sponge? It just sits there and can’t take in any more. A wet sponge has no value. In order for the sponge to be used again we need to wring it out and release the fluid inside of it. Now we can use it again. So, let me ask you this question. Are you the kind of person who is always on the take, but not giving back to anyone?
We can use so many examples of this. For me as a coach, I have learned so much about the game of baseball, but if I don’t share my knowledge with others, I fail to share the gift. Also, I can become stagnant and settle for what I know. The game has evolved over the years and there are new ways to train players. By sharing what I know with others, I can learn from them as well which now makes me a better coach.
The same example can be used in your profession. Those of you that are in leadership positions go to a workshop to glean from others who are experts in that field. You soak in the information. Now it is your responsibility to come back and share it with your staff. You release it to them which now wrings you out and makes you available to take more in. This is valuable for you and them.
Now does mean you need to be in a position of authority at your job to share with others? Heck no! We all have valuable information and nuggets of wisdom that can be valuable to those around you. We are all leaders. Sometimes it just takes courage and a set of brass balls to step out of your comfort zone and be willing to simply talk to others. You just might change their lives. Just be willing to have a conversation. This means the people involved may disagree with one another and that is ok if it is done in a respectful manner.
So how can we use this example of a sponge in our Christian walk? It is as simple as this. Soak up wisdom through learning from others (sermons, bible studies, blogs, etc.) and reading the bible. Then be willing to share with others. Now sharing info and knowledge is one thing. Sharing your testimony is another. The hard step for me is to talk to unbelievers about your faith. This takes courage.
We all need a Paul, Barnabus and Timothy
Mickey finished up his message with another awesome piece of info that I have heard before but needed to be reminded of. We all need a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in our lives. Paul would be a person who is more knowledgeable than you and is there for guidance and leadership. Barnabas is a person who walks along with you. They help hold us accountable and encourage us. Timothy is the person you are pouring into. You essentially are a Paul to them.
After Mickey finished his talk about having those types of people in your life, the sponge alliteration crystalized for me. Now while I have a great group of men I hold as a Barnabas, I lack a Paul who is local here in the Phoenix area and I desire that. Thankfully there are two men, Mike Stanley who resides in Ohio, and Bill Crawford, who is in Michigan, that are a Paul to me. Through phone conversations they strengthen me and give me wisdom. Having someone here would be better, but these 2 men are rock solid, and I am a better husband and father because of them.
There are men is our bible study at church that are a Timothy for me, but I do not do a great job of communicating with them on a regular basis. Instead of waiting for them to call or approach me, I need to reach out to them more often to see how they are doing. So, in essence I am preaching to myself in this blog. Writing these words helps me realize what areas I need to work on in my life.
I hope this encourages you to be more introspective on what your areas of weakness are and that you would be proactive in sharing your faith with others. After all this is the Great Commission that we are called to do as Christians. Instead of keeping all that knowledge in, share it. Be bold and courageous! We are men are called to leadership! Take hold of it and be excellent today!!!
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