by Jon Reeverts
Synergy - do you know that word?
Some people call it chemistry, or that "it" factor, the edge that a team shares that most times is unduplicatable. That's probably why we marvel at back-to-back championship teams or praise sport and business dynasties. Maybe that's why people have been captivated by the Michael Jordan "Last Dance" series that's been on ESPN - we get a behind-the-scenes view of what made it tick? And, we find ourselves trying to figure out the formula in our own arenas.
Volumes have been written about this topic, books, chapters … Stephen Covey popularized it in the 80’s and the world jumped on the synergy wave. If it’s the missing variable - we’ve been convinced that capturing “it” is the key to success.
If you’re a football fan, you and your brotherhood are watching to see if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done just that in bringing Tom Brady and Gronk to the Florida gulf coast. Or whether Belichick is the variable and New England shocks everyone again, or whether both flounder and prove that what they had in tandem was the special ingredient. That is, if the NFL has a season at all.
But wait, a key issue that always is a turning point here is the concept of "Opportunity Cost." It's the knowledge that you only have so much of a resource, and you have to decide how you are going to use it. For example: time - we all get 60 minutes, 24 hours, 7 days a week and so on - you' don't get to manipulate time; you get to choose how to invest your time, whatever the limit of your life includes.
Besides time, consider this, you don't know of anyone with unlimited wealth. No matter how over-the-top their resources, it has some limit, and that person gets to choose how to use their vast or scarce resources.
Or, it’s the risk you’re willing to take that putting your eggs in “this” basket or ‘that’ one, choosing which will yield the best result.
The same, I think, can be said of the season of life we are in now - given the past few months, will we use that experience to decide how we will live out the time, resources and risks we have ahead of us. We get to choose how we set our minds, and experience the power that is in that choice as it touches the lives of other people. It can tear down or build up, encourage or destroy, multiply or diminish.
Yet, I think the world's definition of synergy is different from a Christian view. And, really, it's not limited to a "feel good" moment, "mountain-top" experience, or only personal celebration - not just a hallelujah party.
The Synergy I'm talking about is founded in Hope, watered with Promise, exercised in Desire and celebrated in Communion.
Think back to a moment when you thought, "That was time well spent." Picture it vividly in your mind. Who was there? What was the setting? Can you reimagine the details - temperature, aromas, textures, mood, atmosphere, anticipation, even the cost of arriving in that place in time? We look back at those (plural) scenes and realize there have been many. We call those blessings. We could count a lot of them - number our answered prayers.
Now, take that “well-spent moment” but arrive at ... but that one was unbelievable! It fulfills all the previous details but adds the decisive moment - the moment the candles were blown out, the perfect sunset graced the skies, the last chord melted your spine, the winning shot rocketed you to a fist pump, or that kiss changed your life.
Now, personally, I've always thought about synergy in the context of a team, staff, group, or collective, perhaps because I've been a coach, adviser, teacher, youth pastor and dad. There have been those moments of undefinable grandeur that defy expression or limits.
Groups, organizations, churches, teams try to bottle it, market it, pretend they have a formula for it, but in reality it's never produced, never artificially engineered; it’s never the same and shouldn't be. That's part of the reason I believe it's supernatural, Godly and a Gift.
I think the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is more than a list of good things; I believe the command Paul gives in Philippians 4:8 is More Than Helpful. I believe these touch on what real Synergy hinges upon.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatins 5:22-23a
"Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8
Here's the odd thing about synergy; it often sparkles in moments of conflict, resistance and uncertainty. This Synergy cannot be planned, orchestrated, or managed. That's the decisive moment determiner - it's the Catalyst in the chemistry.
Here it goes. Synergy in the Christian view is called Grace. And in it, Grace is not a thing, or a sliver of time, it’s a Person - the Person of Jesus Christ. Receiving the Life of Jesus Christ creates Synergy that is supernatural. It’s all the answers to life, but not necessarily the answers to our circumstances. You see, blessings are identified and numbered (past tense) as part of our history. We take inventory of them and look at the mile markers of our lives and see a visible trail of God’s presence in our lives. But Grace lives in the present - as believers, Jesus Christ is alive in us now, and now and now.
One choice can begin to reveal Synergy; again - revisit this comparison - "Joy" expressed as part of the fruit of the Spirit, versus happiness, a fleeting feeling that satisfies and then leaves an aftertaste. There's a difference. With this Joy we get to live in the dependency of God providing for our needs with each breath.
This is where Opportunity Cost and Synergy cross paths.
Right now, today, in this moment and the next, we stand on the verge of a synergistic opportunity. Let’s face it, life has been chaotic, devastating, even catastrophic for many of us, but the next step will determine the moments that follow.
How we set our minds for the tasks and time and risks ahead, or become more aware of how our Spirit, Soul and Body can meet that moment, will determine if we are defeated, complacent or at peace.
If we choose to orchestrate our life, determine the significant variable, line up the right components and practice to achieve our desired results, we may end up happy with our results, disappointed or devastated that we didn’t see more clearly.
However, when we rest, now, and now, and now - like each breath depends upon our Savior, and when we learn what He has to offer in this abundant moment, we discover a whole new sphere of living.
I don’t know about you, but my desire is to live in the Grace that wants to express a Peace beyond all understanding, Hope in what is not seen, a Faith in the power that delivers beyond all measure and a Love that expresses warmth, assurance, security and value to the deepest parts of my soul.
As we look ahead - let's decide the opportunity cost. We all have the next moment, maybe the next hour, day, week, month, year together. How will we use it? What will it look like as it integrates itself into this new season? What will the harvest be?
Study... Consider... Choose… Live.