How to Know When You've Lost the Plot

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And at once I knew, I was not magnificent.
— Justin Vernon, Holocene

If the answer to the question, "How'd it go?" is a number, there's your first clue that you've lost the plot.

"How'd it go?" 

"We caught four fish."

"How'd it go?"

"We sold 425 shirts."

"How'd it go?"

"170 people showed up at the church service."

The second temptation of Christ is the temptation to perform. "Throw yourself down from the Temple," prompted the Tempter in Matthew 4. Why? Because it'll demonstrate how magnificent you are.


"How'd it go?"

"I enjoyed time on the water with my father and son. The look on Seth's face when he caught that fourth fish. Oh, man."

"How'd it go?"

"I met so many great people while we were selling shirts."

"How'd it go?"

"The Spirit touched hearts. Someone said 170 people showed up. I'm not sure. But, I know that Debbie talked to me afterward and said that she found solace as we prayed The Jesus Prayer."

If the answer to the question, "How'd it go?" is a number, go pray a while longer. Go weep a little more. Go gaze into the eyes of Jesus and see your reflection in his eyes.

I think it was Jason Upton, the singing prophet that he is, who said, "The Empire knows us as a number, but Jesus knows us by our name."

It's when we try to be magnificent, something special, that we lose the plot. We reduce the glory of God to a digit, to a comma in a string of integers. The more commas the better.

Jesus seemed more interested in asking questions that revealed hearts than he did in the number of commas that depicted the number of people in the crowds that thronged him.

Whatever goal you're going after, whether financial, ministerial, etc. - if the answer is a number, you've lost the plot. Recapture the why

Tommy Brown1 Comment