Or, “We’re Gonna Need a Shovel in Here!”
[I am so fortunate to work in an openly and unashamedly Christian company in the business world. There is always lots of prayer and "hallelujahs!" amidst the very hard work and professionalism. Our staff meetings often feel more like church services than business meetings. Because of this, when we are delivering encouragement, direction or even correction to the staff, we are completely free to do so from a Biblical point of view.
This is what I shared at our staff meeting last week. Only in our office could I give a talk about poop, complete with scripture references!]
Proverbs 14:4 “Where there are no oxen, the stalls are clean, but from the strength of the oxen comes abundant harvest.”
Loosely interpreted, this means: If you’re going to have great harvest coming in, you’re going to have to shovel some poop!
The Israelites were largely an agrarian society, meaning most of their livelihood and survival centered around crops and livestock. While I’ve heard this verse and principle applied many times to ministry, churches and even families, this was first and foremost a parable about business! If you wanted the ability to sow, plow and reap great crops to live on and make a profit, you needed oxen. And where there are oxen, there will be manure.
Things stay nice and neat and mess-free when you aren’t producing anything. But if you are going to have a lot of growth, production, profit and harvest going on in your business, you’re going to have some messes along the way. That’s just the nature of things.
Rather than doing everything you can to avoid problems, it is important we know how to properly deal with some stinky situations when they come our way. What should you do when you’ve got some poop to clean up??
1) KEEP PERSPECTIVE – If you’ve got some messes to clean up, take heart! It means you’ve actually got something going on, and the potential to bring in a harvest at some point! If it’s quiet and clean, that’s when you should be nervous!
Granted, in a business we don’t want to be fixing the same problem over and over again, but as you grow and increase, some messes are going to occur. New systems may need to be implemented. Procedures will have to be tweaked as you go. Additional training may be needed, and likely some apologizing will be needed, too.
If you’ve got some poop to shovel, don’t get so upset about the mess that you kill the cow! You might feel good eating steak for a week or two, but you’ll lose out on the greater harvest if you cut off that which is going to ultimately be very productive!
2) DON’T GET MAD AT THE PERSON WITH THE SHOVEL – Oxen can be temperamental, and they will kick! If you are the one has a pile of poop in your office, and you or someone else has to step in to do some clean-up (co-worker, manager or boss), don’t get all mad and kick at the one with the shovel!
Messes have to be cleaned up. If barns were never cleaned, the animals get stressed and sick, filth begins to contaminate everything, and eventually there isn’t any room left to function. Production suffers, and eventually ceases.
Keep a flexible attitude and learn to adjust if procedures have to change. Grab a shovel when necessary, or be willing to graciously step out of the way if someone else needs to do some clean up in your area. It is for a longer term goal we have a good attitude about dealing with some poop in the here and now.
3) WHAT CAN YOU GROW FROM YOUR POOP? – Don’t forget: manure is a fertilizer! As unpleasant as the shoveling process might be, a good farmer doesn’t waste a truck full of manure. He takes it out into the field and spreads it around so he can produce an even greater harvest!
Every pile of crap you encounter is an opportunity. Just because you had a mess, don’t waste the opportunity to benefit from it. When you’re cleaning up a mess, consider how you can apply the lesson on a broader scale and benefit in other areas! Don’t just focus on getting rid of the poop, because the very thing that you have to clean up could become the key to an even greater harvest!
Have you had to deal with any messes in your company lately? What did you learn?