11. Work Smarter, Not Harder

Legs eleven. Our eleventh principle is to work smarter, not harder. We want to engage brain before our brawn. It’s sometimes hard to do, but the rewards are much greater.

Fale Samoa in AmaileI really get frustrated with the brain-switch-off routine that commonly occurs when people are touched by the Lord. In the circles I’ve mostly come from it’s all love-dovey, happy clappy, experiential faith.

A well-reasoned faith is a breath of fresh air to me and I love digging deeper, using my brain.

[Pic: Amazing Fale Samoa, located in the Catholic village of Amaile, in the Aleipata District. It matters not what the culture, but putting brainpower into something is great. In this case skilled builders have recently rebuilt a large Fale Samoa, and it is a credit to Samoan construction techniques.]

But I see a lot of people around me (especially in Samoa) that just go-with-the-flow without the brain-power. “So the Pastor said, so God said”, and surprise surprise, the Pastor subsequently has the wealth and social status, (read: power). A very common scenario here.

My bible tells me that God has given us a brain to use. I want to use it and this principle seems pretty much common-sense, but boy, is it hard or what?

My bible tells me that God has given us a brain to use. I want to use it …

When I talk to people about the adversity we’ve experienced here, a common phrase used is “Oh, they’re just uneducated people. They don’t understand!” The commentator’s thinking is that they are just village farmers who haven’t been overseas or had much education and they just don’t get it. My phrase to match this when I am angry is “peanut-brains!”

The drive deep within me is to lift people up to think, think, think. To get smart. To get real. To think!

For one who does think, and who is creative, it is enormously frustrating to deal with people who just do things, without thinking. It’s sometimes like I’m going back into the dark ages around here. I try not to be too negative and I try to keep on helping and lifting others up with ideas and sharing better ways of doing things within the culture. I really do, but it’s a challenge!

God has also given us creativity, and amazing examples and case-studies throughout the world today AND in the history of the world or how using our brain is just being smart. I believe that we should learn from these examples and apply them in faith.

We are helping to lift Samoa (and indirectly ourselves) through smart use of technology, social media, and networking. Sure it is all guided by the Lord, but we engage brain at the same time as saying our prayers and invoking the powers from above!

There’s a parable in the Good Book. Jesus spoke of three different dudes who obtained three different financial returns for their Master. Matthew speaks of it thus:

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man travelling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

Double your money – smart dudes!

But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Standby . . . trouble is brewing!

Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

I find it interesting that the boss didn’t argue with this guy in the parable, instead notes that he was actually correct.

So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:14-30

Now the consequences of this parable scare me a little bit, but the principle I’m drawing out here, and also mentioned many times in Proverbs and more, is that we should be using our brain and work smart.

I love the Good Book!

We use the principles contained therein, in our work in Samoa.

We aim to work smarter, not harder.

Our principles thus far: 

  1. Barter – exchange – collaborative commerce – whatever you want to call it, the principle we are working with is that of exchanging and sharing the assets of two parties, for the benefit of both.
  2. It’s not about money. It’s about people; sharing a vision and building relationships.
  3. Use what we have in our hands (exercising faith), as instructed to do (obedience).
  4. We wish to use only the best available to us.
  5. Our Take Nothing Home policy means that we eliminate excessive personal gain.
  6. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
  7. We encourage a Cross-Cultural Partnership, blending the best of two cultures.
  8. We aim for Financial Equivalence whereby we attempt to level the playing field financially.
  9. We offer strong leadership through a clear vision.
  10. Our values are based on the Judeo-Christian value system.
  11. We aim to work smarter, not harder.
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