Battling the SF Giants

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“I have no idea how I’m going to do _____.” If there is any thought that I’ve consistently had to fight with over the past 9 months since I’ve moved from Dallas, TX to San Francisco, CA, it’s this thought. I’ve wrestled, fought, slapped, yelled obscenities at, and cried over this thought. I moved to San Francisco to help start and build Sozo Church and having been here for awhile, this thought keeps coming back over and over again.

I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent in the most expensive city in America.

I have no idea how I’m going to help start a church in the least churched city in America.

I have no idea how I’m going to find a wife in the least Christian city in America.

I have no idea how I’m going to win my fantasy football league after David Johnson’s injury.

I have no idea how… I could list out so many more things.

Here’s the reality, these things are bigger than me. They are giants. I’m not saying that because San Francisco’s baseball team is the SF Giants (that would be cheesy and I don’t make cheesy jokes while writing - wait, yes I do). I’m saying it because these are things that I have no idea how to beat because they are unbeatable.

During this season of fighting giants, I’ve learned a few things I never saw before from the story of David fighting Goliath. Some surprisingly practical things too.

Here's some thoughts from this passage:

1. Step Down

Everyone always wants to say that to be a leader, you’ve got to step up. I really don’t think that’s the case. Normally, it’s not the leader that steps up to get attention or speaks the first or the loudest that makes a significant impact - it’s the leader that is willing to step down into the mess and do what no one is willing to do that makes the difference. The reality is, the giants we face are the ones the that everyone else has the same opportunity to face but they don’t step down into the battle. Leaders aren’t any more confident or brave. They just choose to step down and say, “I’d rather die trying. I’d rather step down into a valley and probably die than stay on this ridge and do nothing.” Really, leaders are willing to possibly fail at killing a giant that would eventually kill them if they stay put. This isn’t some big mystery, this is simply serving. Serving is simply seeing a need and meeting it. Seeing something that needs to be done and doing it. David wasn’t a hero because he killed Goliath - he was a servant. Filling a need and doing something when everyone else abdicated the responsibility.

Since moving to San Francisco, I’ve seen a lot of people come visit, hear about what God is doing in SF, and I’ve seen God genuinely stir their hearts for this city and the people in it. They’ve declared, “I want to move here and be a part of what God is doing in this city.” I have prayed with them, I’ve encouraged them, and I’ve explored the city alongside them only to see them go back home and act like nothing ever happened. I don’t blame them or fault them. It takes a lot to kill to giant - it takes someone willing to come and serve the people here. That’s hard for anyone to do. To step down into the chaotic climate of San Francisco in order to make an eternal difference here. It takes a leader that’s willing to step down.

2. Over-prepare

I love that David took five stones. I think this part of the story gets over spiritualized so much in Christian culture. David brought more stones than he needed because he was over prepared. He only needed one stone to kill Goliath BUT he brought FIVE! I love that! He took 5 times as many resources as he needed. That means he spent 5 times as much time gathering stones than was necessary.

I’ve learned a lot from being around my friends, Josh & Gabi Ferrara. One of the best things I’ve learned is the power of over preparing. Gabi is one of the best graphic designers in the business and Josh is a killer web developer while he also oversees everything at Sozo Church. The more I spend time with them, the more I see this principle in play. They work nonstop on making everything better. I’m convinced that I have yet to see them end a project early, not because they are procrastinators but because they are constantly working on making them better. It doesn’t matter what it is. They are constantly refining, sharpening, adjusting, rewriting, getting second opinions, and chopping up whatever project. They simply put in the work to over prepare. And the results speak for themselves. They aren’t these magical wizards at their jobs - they just put in the extra. And people can tell that. David was like that. He did more than he needed, more than was asked. He was over prepared because he put in the work.

3. Shut Up or Put Up

I know that language is strong and we should say things much nicer but it's hard for me to be nice about this one. This isn’t in relation to other people - this is in relation to me. Looking at this story I see something incredibly profound: David’s brothers were being negative, Saul was being negative, Goliath was being negative, and judging by the language of the other soldiers, they were being negative too. The only person in this entire story that isn’t negative is David! Out of all of the thousands of people in the entire army, the only person that had a positive thing to say was David.

Put yourself in David’s shoes and you might be experiencing something similar. Your brothers, family, etc is saying negative things, your leadership is saying negative things, your enemy is saying negative things. If you can just shut up and not say something negative, that would instantly put you in a better position than everyone else around you! AND if you can actually speak life! Wow! You’ll find yourself with an opportunity that everyone else didn’t get. Just because you didn’t grumble and were positive. There is a time and a place for team debriefs and problem solving but it is not on the battlefield, it’s in the war room. If you’re fighting a giant, SPEAK LIFE!

4. Get Started

Have you ever found someone that is always talking about how much work they have to get done? Or how they just have a lot of "hard work" to do? Yet they work at a desk clicking away at a computer. Or they have to make some phone calls. Or they have to plan out something. That's not hard work. Hard work is the stuff that happens in field with sweat and muscle. Most people have never even done a full day of "hard work" in their life. And that's ok! 

What I find myself and others doing is trying to make ourselves feel better about the work we are doing by making it seem hard or making it seem like it's a lot. It feels good when someone else can't do your job and you're the only one who can do it! It also feels good when you have a ton of things to do and you get them all done. Yet quantity and quality don't determine it being hard. It's just work. Work is work. It's not that you have a ton to do, it's that you haven't started yet. It's not that the task is incredibly "hard," it's that it's just undone. Don't stay in the tent trying to make the armor fit. Go out and get into it. When we delay the work that needs to be done out of fear or out of pride, we delay the miracle. Just get to it!

5. Finish

I can’t stand a leader that gets things done! I actually don’t believe that you’re a leader if you get a bunch of things done. I think you’re a great doer but not a leader. That may seem strong but let's look at the story.

It says that David hits Goliath in the head with a rock and Goliath fell. In that moment, David got the job done. David won the battle. This made David a winner but it didn’t make him a leader. What happens next is critical:

 
Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.
— 1 Samuel 17:51
 

As epic as that sounds, there’s something huge here you can’t miss. David didn’t just get the job done. He finished the job. The finality in this verse is riveting. David made it to where the problem of Goliath couldn’t be a problem ever again. That’s what a leader does! There is nothing that will cause more issues than an angry giant waking up with a giant headache.

For example, recently we had a training manual that had to be made. It needed to be written, edited, proofed, printed, and delivered. The person responsible for it worked many many hours trying to make sure this manual got done. Once they got it done, they sent it to someone else to get printed. Along the way, that someone else got busy and didn’t get it printed. The training had to be postponed. The training manual got done but it wasn’t finished.

I don’t know about you but I want to be a finisher. Ask yourself this question: Am I willing to see this through all the way to the end? If the answer is not yes, don’t take on the fight. Someone else will have to fight that giant and they will have to finish it for you. I love that when Jesus was hanging on the cross defeating sin and securing our forgiveness once and for all, he didn’t say “It is done.” He didn’t say, “Now that I’ve worked on this for awhile, you finish it.” He simply and with total finality declared, “It is finished.”

That’s the same spirit that is in us. A finishing spirit. You wouldn’t be where you are without the spirit of God working in your life. Don’t sit on it. Don’t just get things done. Be a finisher. I’ve messed this up so many times and I’ve had to have my leadership step in a kill a giant that I had only knocked unconscious. Don't leave your giant for someone else to finish.

I hope that you become a giant killer. I hope that you sense the amazing spirit that is inside of you that wants to glorify the Father through your courage, leadership, and obedience. I pray you step down into the battle, take the time to over-prepare, choose to speak life no matter what, get started, and that you finish strong. I’m cheering you on from San Francisco.

Andy Walt

In His Solution