One of the books I read this year was call The Dip, by Seth Godin. I picked it up at the recommendation of Sam Davidson, the author and creator of Cool People Care. He proposes a simple way for people to do something to better the earth and the world around them each day Monday through Friday. In Sam’s blog one day the book came across the blogline to share with people how to even out their lives. The Dip shares tips about when to press on to the end, and when to quit because the end has already come.
Seth Godin describes the dip as that little dip in the road, sometimes a big dip, that causes you or me to get discouraged and to think about quitting, when the results are just on the other side of this dip. Too many of us quit before we hit the jackpot with the full payout from settling in for the long haul, and pushing through the dip.
Part of the reason so many of us quit before we get the full benefit of the goal we set out to reach is that we have so much experience with what Seth calls “The Cul-de-Sac”. The Cul-de-Sac starts out looking like the dip, when the downslope begins. But the truth of the cul-de-sac is that it only leads to circles in the same place, ending up in a full-on dead end. There is no way to push through the cul-de-sac. You cannot make a breakthrough to the rewards of the goal you set out to discover.
Seth reminds us that the trick is to have discernment about whether the dip we have started into is a “Dip” or a “Cul-de-Sac”. Through discernment Seth shows us that we can quit spinning our wheels in areas that are of no real purpose except to keep us spinning our wheels, and get on with the projects that are going to need our full energy to push on to the rewards that have been promised.
Jesus Christ offers us much the same kind of promises. We have to let go of our attachments, you know the ones that keep us spinning our wheels in the same spaces, like whether we are going to keep the pots or pans in this cupboard or that cupboard, or staying in the rat race to chase after the almighty dollar, that only leads to chasing more dollars. Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39).
Are you willing to lose your life for the sake of Jesus Christ, letting go of the attachments, push through the challenges of real ministry that extends a helping hand to the person you least want to help and to the person you might otherwise ignore. Are you willing to do the work that you think someone else ought to be doing, simply because you know that Jesus Christ loves that individual and the need for ministry is before your heart and mind in that moment?
That is the “Dip” of ministry that provides great rewards on the other side. Doing church for the sake of doing church is only going to serve as a Cul-de-sac. Let us quit the things that are running us in circles, and focus instead on the goal ahead that we will have energy to push through the hardships that are bound to come as a result.