It’s in the details!

It’s in the details!

By Andy Constable

I hate thinking about details. I love thinking about the vision and the concepts but not how we are going to get there. I’m the worst person in the world to organise events because I can envision what I want to happen but am rubbish at thinking about the plan. The leadership team at church have a tag line whenever I forget something, they say: “Remember Andy, it’s in the details!” This has been a big challenge for me as I have worked in Niddrie. I thought coming here would mean hanging out, talking with the ‘poor’ and sharing the gospel with them, not ‘what structure are we going to bring them into’. I didn’t think I had to have an action plan and think through how I wanted to carry out my vision. And I think probably many of us struggle with this. We love the grand, romantic ideas but the structure – well that’s no fun at all! But, as leaders, we have to think about the details and I have been deeply challenged as I’ve thought about this over the last 6 months in particular. Let me say three things about the details:

Firstly, we are following a God who thinks about the details. In Matthew 10 Jesus is warning his disciples about the persecution they will face after he ascends to heaven and he tells them:  “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Jesus says do not be afraid of those who can hurt the body but fear the one who has control over your soul! Furthermore, don’t be anxious because he cares for us so much so that he even knows how many hairs are on our heads! Now, how’s that for details? God knows us so intimately that he knows every hair on our heads. He knows us better then we know ourselves. In Psalm 139 David says of God “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search ,my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” God doesn’t simply know about the big life changing decisions that we make but every tiny, little, ‘incy wincy’ detail of our lives. He has a comprehensive plan mapped out. Those who think the details aren’t important need to take heed and be challenged by the God who is involved and thinks about the details of our lives.

Secondly, Jesus had a detailed plan! Jesus didn’t just turn up and walk about the place proclaiming the kingdom. Jesus had a very specific plan when he came to earth. He was born in a specific place according to the scriptures – Bethlehem. He never ventured out of Israel apart from as a baby when his parents were forced to take him to Egypt. He stuck to mainly the towns of Nazereth, Capernaum, and Jerusalem during his ministry.  He chose 12 specific disciples who he invested in and spent most of his time with. He went to specific groups of people like the Pharisees, Tax Collectors and Prostitutes. And then he traveled to Jerusalem at just the right time to be led to his death at the cross. Jesus knew what he was doing at every point of his life. He was very tactical. He had his mission: to die on the cross and after three days be raised again to purchase his people salvation. He had his people that he trained up to share this message once he had ascended back to heaven. He even came at a very specific time in history, during the Roman Empire, so that the message of the gospel could travel quickly at a time when there was great infrastructure for getting around. Jesus had a vision but he also had the plan to carry it out. Although we are not the sovereign Son of God, as leaders we must care about the details as well as the vision. Jesus did it and so should we!

Thirdly, the wise person is a person who thinks about the details! I found this verse from Proverbs challenging as I was thinking through this stuff: “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Those who are diligent in their plans lead to profit while those who rush and don’t plan will be led into poverty. We need to think about the details because without them there will be no success. You can’t build something without foundations and in the same way we won’t have a vision without the details! Tied in with rushing plans is the sin of laziness lurking! Proverbs 20:4 says: A sluggard does not plough in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.” Many who have great vision don’t want to think about the details because it’s just too much hard work. It’s easy having grand ideas but thinking through action steps and structure can be hard graft. But the effort needs to be put in and the sin of laziness battled with. The one who fails to plough at the right season due to laziness will find that their vision reaps no reward!

So, next time we make a plan or have a vision let’s be challenged to think about the details! We have a God who thinks about the details who sent a Son with a detailed mission and so we shouldn’t be lazy and fail to plan! Because as the old saying goes: ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail!’ Lets pray and have vision but not forget about the intricacies of how we are going to get there – “People, it’s in the details!”