Is it too little butter, or too much bread?

The above is the title of a blog by Seth Godin several months ago.  The title really got my attention and I have had to chew on it (pun intended) for several months.  But I think it is worth exploring with you all.

In the blog, he states:

Most individuals and organizations complain of not having enough butter. We need more resources, we say, to cover this much territory. We need more (time/money/staff) to get the job done.

That is right in line with much of what our team consults with organization regarding their FOCUS and Intentionality. Too often we see leaders looking for more and more “bread”(programs…the next initiative…more facilities…the next campus…the next software package, etc). None of them, in and of themselves, are bad or wrong…but if you don’t have a commensurate amount of “butter” (money, time, staff, volunteers, etc), then we start spreading the butter too thin on the bread.  Sounds like a quote from a J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, Lord of the Rings, by Bilbio Baggins:

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”

I can remember as a kid getting toast in the AM and needing to be sparse with the butter we spread on.  To me, that eating experience was never fulfilling.  I wanted the butter (or jelly, apple butter, cream cheese, peanut butter, etc) to be commensurate with the material I was spreading it on. When I tried to parse out the butter, I inevitably missed sections…which were then dry and unappealing.  Other areas were so thin that I could barely tell it had any spread at all. That was always disappointing.

Godin went on to say:

Spreading our butter too thin is a form of hiding. It helps us be busy, but makes it unlikely we will make an impact. It turns out that doing a great job with what we’ve got is the single best way to get a chance to do an even better job with more, next time.

So…when we think about ministry resources (human or otherwise), I would recommend that we do not try to enlarge our bread without having ample butter to do the right job.

Be Intentional!


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