#ThoughtsFromTerry Dispatch w.45.2017
Community. This is a word that is filled with many different definitions. Depending on your circumstances, worldview, and perspective you may have radically differing opinions of community. For me, community was highlighted once again this past week by my new teenage daughter, Reese. Reese has a beautiful community she has fostered and built - and it revolves around the local church. Reese has a wide array of friends, but then she has her core group of friends. These friends she serves with, prays with and spends a lot of time with. As her parents, we have significant relationships with these core group of friends and often call these girls our daughters. Mother Teresa said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being uncared for and unwanted are the greatest poverty.” A great community that starts with Biblically based relationships is a crucial answer to loneliness. Reese, I am so proud of you!
ZERO-SUM GAME MENTALITY
Wikipedia: In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant's gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants. If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. Thus, cutting a cake, where taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others, is a zero-sum game if all participants value each unit of cake equally (see marginal utility).
Growing up in sports, I was conditioned to understand winning and losing. Yes, this was in the era of only getting a trophy or medal if you won. American soccer, starting at four years old, birthed into a passion for tennis that became highly competitive and a driver through my teenage years. Winning was everything. In my mind at the time, tennis was possibly the career path.
Competitive sports produces winners and losers. There is no participation medal, and no one remembers the 2nd, 3rd or 4th place. This is the zero-sum game. My win is your loss, and this mindset does not just birth out of sports - it’s much deeper than that. As Wikipedia explains, it is also embedded in our mathematical understanding, so it impacts our financial understanding and can drive the way we think about money and stewardship. If you stop and think about this concept, the zero-sum mentality just might drive many areas of your world.
What I have realized in my own life is, the "zero-sum game" mindset is dangerous and destructive. As a competitive person who can find myself very performance oriented, I have to be very cautious to not default to a zero-sum mindset. As Wikipedia describes, when a person gains, the other person loses. More often than not, this line of thinking is flat out incorrect. You see, this is a give and take system, the zero-sum game is all transactional, and the amount of cake we have grows or diminishes with every transaction. You see, this is jacked up, but we all deal with it. Jesus addressed this line of thinking. Look at his words in Matthew.
“But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 25-28
The antidote to the zero-sum mindset is generosity. Generosity is not transactional; it is not based on a simple mathematical equation of gains and losses. It is rooted in giving, based on sacrifice. The generosity mind-set lived out means sharing ideas, investing in each other, blessing one another and expecting nothing in return. And the paradox of all this is found later on in Jesus words.
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23: 11-12
Lord search our hearts and reveal to us where our mindsets are counter to you ways.
MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE
Next week a few of us will be heading back to Washington DC to participate in the official grand opening of the Museum of the Bible. Many of you have emailed me asking more details about my visit, and my response is simple: it’s incredible, and a must-see. Next summer, Robin and I plan on taking Reese and Reia to DC for a history filled family summer trip, and the Museum of the Bible will be a core part of the journey.
A short film dedicated to the most iconic book in human history. Watch as the film weaves together twelve influential historic events illustrating the Bible as the common thread that connects history.
WEEKEND READING RECOMMENDATIONS
Kill The Elephants In The Room Before They Kill You.
Scott Belsky is one of my favorites. In this post, Scott talks about the power of conflict, the power of challenging peace as a default and much more. I highly recommend the quick read.
The Real Law of Averages
Seth lanches out with - If you want to raise the standards of any group, improving the top of the heap isn't nearly as effective as focusing your effort on the base instead. It's a brilliant read, dive in.
What I Learned From Reading Every Google Founders’ Letter
In 2004 the Google founders’ IPO letter said: “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” Li Jiang, an angel investor unpacks eight key learnings. A fun read.
"Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society." - Saint Francis of Assisi
Thanks for reading! Have a great week,