As a business leader, I am often reflecting on the well-known phrase, “Think Big, Act Small,” wondering how I can better scale my business, yet continue to be quick and nimble.
"Think Big" means to put systems in place to build a platform for growth. "Act Small" is the ability to treat customers like they matter as if you were a small Ma’ Pa’ General Store, plus empower people to make decisions so there is not a lot of red tape.
These are all great aspects of a business for day-to-day activity, but what do you do when you’re facing a mountain of adversity or an incredible change in strategy? I’ve found the answer lies in not only thinking big, but thinking Biblically Big!
From a business perspective, I am drawn to the story of Gideon in Judges 6 and 7 - possibly because Gideon is similar to so many of us. He feels inferior and not qualified for an enormous assignment, yet in the midst of what he sees as his shortcomings, he chooses to connect with God and believe for the impossible.
The Story of Gideon
The people of Israel continued to do evil in the eyes of the Lord and were now in the hands of a town called Midian. An angel of the Lord appeared before Gideon and told him, “Save Israel from the hand of Midian.” Gideon gathers his thoughts and responds, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest and I am the least in my Father’s house.”
Gideon’s response is one I can relate to and maybe you too have been in a similar place feeling stuck and unable to move forward. The questions roll in your head, as you wonder, “How are you going to hit your fiscal year numbers?” “How you can improve your company’s toxic culture and environment?” Or maybe, wondering, “How will you have the time or energy to blaze a new trail in a new market opening up?”
We all have been there, but if we take Gideon’s lead in remaining faithful to the Father’s voice and staying obedient to Him, we too will progress and gain the victory.
Gideon starts with an army of 22,000, then the Lord immediately narrows it down to 10,000 by sending home the weak and scared. I am sure Gideon is still OK at this point, since he has 10,000 men to fight with, but the Lord isn’t done as He tells Gideon to take his army to the riverbank and wait for further instruction.
At the riverbank, the Lord instructs Gideon to tell his army to drink some water from the river, and based on how they drink the water, they will either be sent home or remain as part of the army. I agree, it seems like a ridiculous way to select your fearless warriors, but this one action separate the boys from the men. In the end the Lord selected 300 men because as they drank water, He could see those who were in a warrior-like stance by being alert and ready for anything.
Finally, just when you thought you’d seen all of God’s crazy war tactics, God commands Gideon to surround the town with torches and trumpets, and blow their trumpets all at once. Of course this loud blast caused people of Midian to flee, and the victory was Gideon’s.
Where is the Gideon story in your life?
Gideon was only successful because he had the humility to hear God and the obedience to take action. As business leaders, we often get stuck in our stubborn ways and only listen to our vision or strategy. True leaders not only listen to God but also take the time to hear from others in their organization, in order to discern the direction God is leading.
As Gideon did, you too can overcome your current obstacle by following God’s lead, which may be highly unconventional, in order to do something Biblically Big in your business.
How often have you heard an idea that was right for the business but you were too tired or scared of failure that you did not take action?
What is the current adversity or strategic opportunity you are facing? How can you lean into God more during this?