Why do the unnecessary?


photo credit Here

A couple of months ago my awesome mother-in-law flew down to visit from North Carolina. My wife, Rachel, and I along with our new baby girl, Avonlea, got in the car to go pick her up at the airport. On the way, Rachel decided she wanted to surprise her mom by greeting her in the lobby of the terminal instead of waiting to see her in the “arrivals” car pick-up line. And not just that, she wanted to take our 3 month old baby in to the lobby as well.

Now, I could have responded with excitement and support of what Rachel wanted to do.
Unfortunately, I didn’t.

I said something like this: “I would have to drop you and Avonlea off at the arrivals area and then go park and wait. How far is the parking lot? Avonlea is sleeping. Do we really want to wake her up?
And what difference is it going to make? We are going to see her for several days. Can’t we just wait until she gets in the car? Why do you need to go to the lobby? That’s a lot on you and the baby.”

And then I said these three words

That’s not necessary.

Without missing a beat Rachel responded:
“Just because it isn’t necessary, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.”

Boom. I had the wind knocked out of me instantly. I was convicted. I felt really stupid. I had missed it completely.

Rachel was trying to do something for her mom that was more than expected. She wanted to show her how excited she was to see her. I was thinking about the inconvenience. How it would affect me.

It wasn’t necessary. The success of my mother-in-law’s visit didn’t depend on Rachel going into the lobby.
But that didn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

One of the greatest examples of the unnecessary is God’s instructions to Israel in the construction of the ark in Exodus 25:10-21. The Ark was to hold the 10 Commandments. Some of the instructions were to use pure gold, a certain type of wood and precise measurements.

The unnecessary gets bumped up a notch in Exodus 25:11: “Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it.” Do you see that? Even the part that wouldn’t be seen, inside, underneath the cover was to be pure gold.

Isn’t that unnecessary? Couldn’t the people have just built a sturdy, wooden box to carry the 10 Commandments? And even the inside had gold? Come on. Isn’t that a bit much?


But what if the box that held the 10 Commandments mattered because even it represented God? What if God was just as concerned about the inside of the ark, which nobody saw, as he was about the outside that everyone saw?

The truth is, when it comes to honoring God and connecting with people there is no such category as “unnecessary.” But rather, just things that “seem” unnecessary.

Because only by doing what seems unnecessary…
the things that don’t make sense to most people,
that are different,
that seem extreme,
that focus on the details,
that examine your private and public life…
will you begin to fully honor God and connect with people.

It’s a life of excellence.

It’s what we were made for.

And it’s a life that deep down we all want to live.

How could you do something this week that seems unnecessary to most that would honor God or connect with people?


What I learned from a waiter at outback

One of the many things I’m passionate about is food. I enjoy eating. And I really enjoy eating good food. No, great food. Better yet, “personal” food. You know, that food that you could eat a thousand times in a row and you would never get tired of. You want to eat it when you are having a good day or a bad day. The smell. The taste. The experience. It captivates you. It draws you in. You know you’ve found it when both your tummy and your heart are made happy by it. I don’t know what that is for you, but for me one food stands above the rest. There is no competition. Outback cheese fries!

A couple of months ago I went to a local Outback to have a plate of their mouthwatering cheese fries for an appetizer. And the way I eat them is by dipping them into some of Outback’s delicious ranch dressing. And yes, I know that greasy cheese and fatty ranch isn’t the best for me. But I really, really, really like their ranch, especially when it’s combined with cheese fries. I like it so much that I have to ask for extra ranch dressing each visit.

Well something happened during this trip to Outback that I can’t remember ever happening before. I didn’t have to ask for more ranch. As I was about to ask our waiter, Paul, for another cup of ranch he was walking towards our table with a cup in his hand. I was surprised and thankful. Then to top it off, when our dinner was brought out, Paul put a cup of ranch dressing on my dinner plate. Again, without me asking.

As I’ve thought back on that night, one word keeps coming to my mind—Anticipation.

Paul had an ability to anticipate what it was that I wanted without me ever asking him. He genuinely cared, engaged with me and others at our table, watched what we enjoyed and took mental notes. Then he acted on it. Paul’s ability to anticipate separates him from other waiters who never get the clues that people give them. I bet you’ve had a moment where someone anticipated something you wanted, needed or liked without you ever asking them. How did they know? Simple—they cared about you and got to know you.

Each day you have the opportunity to anticipate in the relationships you have. If you will do it, you will grow in those relationships and show to those people how much they matter to you. And you might just surprise them like a cup of ranch dressing surprised me.

What are some ways you could anticipate in the relationships you have?


Why blog?

I’ve been asking myself this question for a couple of years now. Before this question I asked myself a few others. Why Facebook? Why Instagram? Why Tweet? I now do all three (I’m still considering Pinterest :)). Call it giving in to peer pressure, conforming to what everyone else is doing, jumping on the social media bandwagon, or something else. But I did it. And I’m glad I did. I think I’ll be glad I started blogging too.

So why do it? Why blog when there are already thousands of other (and better) blogs out there? For one thing, I believe most everybody has something to say that can help somebody else in some way. I hope I fit in the “most everybody” group of people. Here are a few more reasons why I’m choosing to blog:

1. To connect with people.
2. To add value to people.
3. To share ideas and thoughts.
4. To challenge myself to learn and grow.
5. To start conversations that point people to Jesus.

What will I be blogging about? I’m glad you asked. Below are several categories I’m considering:
– Leadership
– Church and Faith
– Current Cultural Topics
– Belief and Doubt
– Personal Growth
– Other stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into a category

So there ya have it. Here’s to my first blog post explaining why I’m blogging. Exciting, huh? Ha. I have a lot to learn. And I’m still not sure about a lot of the ins and outs of blogging. But I know one thing for sure: if I waited until I had it all together I’d never get started. So I’m starting. It’s a little scary putting my ideas out there. But here we go. Looking forward to this blogging journey!