Monday

It’s Time To Negotiate a New Contract

Most professional sports begin with a training camp of some kind. And many training camps begin with a level of controversy: very often, there are a few individuals that don’t show up for the beginning of camp. They’re often some of the best players, and they’re holding out in order to negotiate a better contract.
There are benefits and drawbacks for that renegotiation. The good is that a new agreement can be created, one without the assumptions of the previous season.
The drawbacks are plentiful in that kind of a negotiation. Chief among them is the fact that this quickly becomes an adversarial negotiation: opponents, each trying to get their own way.
And contract negotiations that impose on the sports season are always a distraction. They distract the players, those men and women who are preparing themselves for the upcoming battles. They also distract the fans, the people who are watching from the sidelines, including those that play the game at another level (whether PeeWee ball, or high school or college sports programs).
Any professional contract, for example a professional sports contract, is an agreement; the terms of my contract will spell out what I will do and what you’ll do. Generally there’s a correlation between how successful I am and how well I’m rewarded.
Michael Jordan had an amazing contract with the Chicago Bulls. He was paid handsomely, and he earned it: he was arguably the best player in the history of the team, both in terms of how he played (and won) the game, as well as his impact on the business: more fans bought tickets because Michael was playing.
Michael serves as an interesting example. In 1993, he quit playing basketball (he called it “retiring” to honor the terms of his basketball contract) and started playing minor league baseball. Suddenly Michael was playing a new sport. I’m not privy to Michael’s finances, but while “the best player in the history of the team” may earn a multi-million dollar paycheck, a very lanky outfielder in a mediocre minor league baseball team probably doesn’t get the same reward.
When the game changes, it’s time to negotiate a new contract.
That was surely true for Michael’s move from basketball to baseball, but that’s also true when a player moves from college ball through the draft to the world of pro sports. Matthew Stafford played football for Georgia for a few years, and he did quite well. College football players don’t When the Detroit Lions drafted him, they gave him a contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $42 million.
When the game changes, it’s time to negotiate a new contract.

We can say it in spiritual terms:
When there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. Hebrews 7:12
We’re in a season when the game is changing. Have you noticed the changes? God is on the move. For the last couple of decades, He’s been restoring the prophetic gifts to the church. In the last couple of years, he’s been taking it to the streets. For the last decade or so, He’s been restoring healing gifts to the church. In the past year or two, he’s been taking those to the streets. (Have you seen the videos of healing breaking out at Disneyland?)
I might even go so far as to suggest that we’re experiencing a change of priesthood.
Two thousand years ago, there was a fairly significant event that turned our relationship with God on its head; as a result, no longer are we under the law, but we are under grace. I suppose every generation needs to grasp that for themselves, that the church is not a minister of the law, of rules, of expectations, but it’s a place where we’re beginning to experience “the priesthood of believers.”
For generations, the pastor of the church has been “the minister,” and they meant it: he’s the one that studies the word and on Sunday morning, he presents it. He’s the one who visits the sick and prays for them, who welcomes visitors to the church.
In the past several years, we’ve watched as the body of the church step up out of our pews and begin to do the work of ministry. We’ve moved from “Pastor as minister” to “the body is the minister.”
When the game changes, it’s time to negotiate a new contract.
Finally, many of us as individuals are experiencing a transition to, for lack of a better term, a new level in God. We’ve outgrown the old; like in a video game, we’ve pretty well beaten the bad guys on our level, we’ve picked up all the plunder from the level we’ve been on for the past few years (or decades). Now we’re going through the awkward and uncertain phase of stepping into new role to which God is assigning us.
When the game changes, it’s time to negotiate a new contract.

So we are in a new game. The rules have changed. It’s time for a new contract with the team we play for. Besides, we didn’t change the game. God has changed the game. He’s ready for the new contract as well, though in the Bible, He called them covenants. I guess that’s what Jewish sports teams call their contracts. Bible scholars talk about the Adamic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the Davidic covenant, the New covenant. Lots of covenants.
Just as in professional sports, or with union contract negotiations: we can continue to work under the old contract if we choose, accepting less reward than is our due. A friend of mine said it this way: “That the old contract is up, the one where we had to accept 3 pennies for every dollar that we are worth”
When we negotiate our new contract with the Captain of our team (Human sports have the coach on the sidelines; ours is on the field of battle with us!), there are some principles that still apply:
First, we do not negotiate from an adversarial position, but from a position of favor. We don’t need to fight to persuade him to grudgingly give us the kind of reward that we are worth: he’s the one who is arguing, “No! You’re worth more than that! Ask for this as well!”
Then, knowing that God is your Daddy, your advocate, and that you’re his favorite kid, ask what you should contend for in this season: your kids? Your finances? (Yes, that’s legal!) Your marriage? Your community? Your region? Your nation? Another nation? An area of freedom in God? A new realm of ministry?
This is the part of the contract where you’re negotiating for what you’re going to get cheap on yourself here? What is it you really want? What are you willing to contend for, for that’s the third part: what is the work that you are willing to do to on your part?
Michael Jordan didn’t get paid his gazillions of dollars just because he was a nice guy. He earned it by playing the most amazing basketball that we had ever seen. He put on his jersey, marched out onto the court, picked up the ball and did whatever it took to put it through the hoop on the other end.
In our realm, we have some very valuable skills. We intercede and God changes things. We declare things, and they come to pass. We stare down the enemy with the praises of God in our mouths and all of Heaven breaks loose to destroy that bit of hell.
In times past, we’re told of worshipers who marched around cities, ahead of armies and in the courts of hostile kings. Today there are mountains in Korea, covered with tiny caves, each filled with praying believers. I know a man who has fasted forty days twenty times; he watches limbs grow out and gold dust form on his hands when he prays for the sick. I know another who fasted 120 days and saw the world change around him.
This is absolutely not a case of earning the rewards that we’re asking for: our families, our communities. But there is reason to suggest that if we are not willing to fight for our dreams, our children, our marriages, then who is? If those dreams don’t move us to passion, why in heaven’s name should we expect that they’ll move God or His angels to passion?

And so I counsel you to negotiate your contract for this new season that we’re entering: determine in advance what you want to have happen, and what you’re willing to do in order to lay hold of those dreams. Determine how you will respond to the favor of God that is calling you to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”


2 comments:

12345 said...

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Lisa said...

Great blog and well written :-)

Lisa