• Tom Beaumont

The Product or the Process

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

I am a list person. I have “things to do” lists in my phone, my tablet, my computer and even on the blotter on my desk. List people are also achievers because we find great satisfaction in making progress on our lists. Though I seldom admit it - from time to time I will get something done not on my list; go back to my list and add it to the bottom and then cross it off. If there is a support group for people like me I should probably join it.

The truth of the matter is that while we are not all “list people” most of us are very linear in our thinking. We like things in order, in steps, in sequence, along a straight line, black and white, goal-oriented – need I go on? We’ve been educated that way. As a camp leader I live by a calendar; love to put together a program; am directed by a budget, aim to finish each project and spend hours planning ahead – all very linear things.

On the other hand, non-linear thinking tends to be a bit more creative and random and structure free. It’s kind of like letting a puppy run wild on a walk up a mountain – anything of interest will be thoroughly investigated (and perhaps peed on) before jumping to the next, possibly non-related subject. It produces big picture thinking; is subjective rather than objective; responds to circumstances and is open to change. These are things we linear people tend to try only on vacation.

I think it is safe to say that God is not linear. He is not bound by time. He is not focused so much on accomplishment as He is on relationship. And he desires the same for us. We linear folk tend to define success by finishing something – God tends to define it by being someone. We figure God blesses our process (because it seems spiritual) therefore, we focus primarily on the product. The truth is, God may be fine with the product but is more likely to speak to us in the process. And while we are upset with delay and diversions and, certainly failures it is in those things that God has the most to teach us. There is a reason that we read the admonition in Scripture to “Be still and know that I am God”.

As a camp leader here are some questions for you to ponder along your linear path. How am I dealing with people on my road to completing things? Where is my faith in God in route to achieving really big projects? How are spiritual objectives really being met? Am I willing to be opportunistic and not just strategic? And do I hear what I need to hear when I am not advancing, achieving and accomplishing?

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