[management by God] creating momentum

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

October 15, 2010

Momentum is a funny thing…

When you have it, it seems like it would take the whole world to stop it. But when you don’t, it seems to take the whole world to get it. A train running away at 60 mph could smash through a brick wall, but a train at rest couldn’t move an inch with a pebble stuck under the wheels.

I’m sure that I don’t have to spend much time talking about how important it is to have momentum, but we all want to know how to create it when it is otherwise nowhere to be found.

As I journey through the ancient leaders of Israel, the second judge that led the nation after arriving in the promised land was a man named Ehud.

After Othniel passed, Israel was overtaken again, and was under foreign rule for a period of eighteen years. This would be difficult for most of us in the United States to understand, since a president these days can only serve a maximum of eight years. Imagine what it would be like to have a known enemy (like the current leaders of Iran or North Korea) leading the government over our nation. Times would be difficult, and that is likely what it was like for the Israelites at that time. So they cried out to God…

Ehud was your normal, every-day kind of guy…

That is until God raised him up as the nation’s deliverer. Ehud was the guy with the job of delivering the tributes from his countrymen to this foreign king. Then one day Ehud made a sword, (being left-handed) bound it to his right thigh under his clothing, and after delivering the tribute to the king, he killed him and snuck out of the palace unnoticed.

After doing away with the king, he went back and rallied some troops to go attack the foreign armies, and they ended up killing 10,000 that day. From that day forward, there was peace in Israel for eighty years, as long as Ehud lived.

This is an incredible story of momentum, as Ehud took a nation that was at a standstill under foreign rule, and created the momentum not only to get them moving in the right direction, but to return their independence and stay that way for 80 years!

The amazing thing is that for Ehud to live for 80 years after this means that he must have been a young man when he did all of this. It’s quite possible that he was in his teens, and was even born under the rule of this foreign king that he so boldly defeated. He wouldn’t have known any other way of life, but still rallied to lead his nation into an new era of independence and peace.

Let’s take a look at the four key principles that we learn from the life of Ehud, especially when it comes to building momentum:

  1. Build trust – Ehud had to work in an environment that he probably knew he wanted to get out of. However, rather than complain, he sucked it up and used his unfulfilling role to help him build credibility. Ehud never would have been able to do what he did if he didn’t do the dirty work required to build the trust that he needed.
  2. Get creative – Ehud was left-handed, and his job was simply to deliver tributes. There have been many studies done to prove how left-handed people are typically right-brain dominant, which means that they work more from the creative side of the brain. If Ehud was going to pull this off, he needed to have a creative plan. The passage also talks about how he made (or from the original Hebrew, fashioned) his own sword. He needed not only a special plan, but also a special tool that would do the job. This required thinking outside of the box.
  3. Do the unexpected – Some of the commentary about this passage points out that Ehud was able to get his weapon past “security” likely because it was placed on his right thigh, an unexpected place to carry a weapon. Normally a sword or dagger would be carried on the left thigh or hip for easy access by the right-handed person. Because of the trust and the creativity he had, he was able to execute an event that was totally unexpected. Nobody, even the king himself, saw this thing coming.
  4. Build on your success – When Ehud left there, he went out to lead his people into battle and achieve some great victories. He eventually built on his success enough that nobody dared to mess with the nation of Israel for as long as he lived, another 80 years. The key here is that when you knock one ball out of the park, then you’ve got to line right back up with others and say now let’s all do this together.

Ehud was able to create, build and ride his momentum to a long, peaceful rule. Some questions for you to consider today are:

  • What are you doing to build trust with others around you? Is there some “dirty work” that you need to get into?
  • What is keeping you from doing it? How can you step outside of the box, and come up with some truly different ways of doing things?
  • Not all of us have the creativity that we need, so who can you talk to that can help get those creative juices going for you?
  • What unexpected things can you do?
  • Do you have the guts to take your new, creative plans, and put them into action?
  • When you have some successes, then how can you rally the troops around them and go out to create even more successes?

Ehud wouldn’t let anything stop him, nor should you…

See more from the management by God series!


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[management by God] creating momentum

by Dan King time to read: 5 min