Monday, September 22, 2008

Making Headroom

On Sunday morning I talked about a key spiritual principle of us doing life well is to create 'headroom' in our lives so that we have spare capacity when God calls us to do something extra.

I was primarily talking in the context of our finances. That if our income all gets spent on us and living for today then there is no space in our finances to do anything else and it's quite likely that money is our master. Having headroom in our finances allows us to tithe (more on that in two weeks time when we look at what the New Testament really says about tithing). Having headroom allows us to help people in need. Having headroom stops us getting into debt when unexpected expenses come along. Having headroom allows us to give beyond our tithe. Often we think our income isn't big enough to give us any headroom, but it's rarely the income that's the problem. More often our out of control expenditure. That "where did it all go" question when there's too much month left at the end of the money. We'll talk more next week about creating headroom, but one key is the biblical principle of 'first fruits'. Of deciding first what we want our headroom to be and then shaping our lifestyle and expenditure around whatever is left.

But headroom also applies in other areas. It has huge implications for us with our time. I'd suggest that the vast majority of us are just too busy, and the lack of headroom in our time prevents us doing the things God really wants us to be about. It's Rick Warren who says that we can learn as much from studying the stops of Jesus as the steps of Jesus. Jesus always seemed to have time for the interruptions that came into his life. Whether it was Nicodemus in the middle of the night, the woman at the well or the woman with the issue of blood. I wonder whether in the parable of the good Samaritan the issue with the Pharisee and the Levite was not that they didn't care but that they were just in too much of a hurry (Malcolm Gladwell has some interesting insights on that - look up "Good Samaritan" in his book "The Tipping Point", or listen to what I said on Sunday if you want to look into that further).

So I challenge you to look at making some headroom in your life this week. Take a look at how much you've got to spend this week and decide to spend £5 less. Then think about who you could give that £5 to, or what you could buy with it just to surprise someone in your world. And decide that when you get interrupted this week, or when you feel the Spirit prompting you to make that phone call or ask that person out for a coffee, that you won't just ignore it on the grounds that you're too busy, but that you'll create some headroom to be able to respond.

More on creating headroom next Sunday, but let me know if you find creating headroom making any difference this week. I might even get you up to share on Sunday if you do :-)

Have a great week,



Anonymous said...


I've been thinking about your sermon a lot this week. I was challenged and really encouraged by what you brought to us. I've been trying to identify 'things' and activities that I can/ should cut out of my life to create headroom. However, I'm not sure if its the system's analyst in me or not, but i keep coming back to the notion of doing things better - being more efficient in what we do to create headroom. I agree that the majority of people are too busy but often its doing things in daft ways that robs our headroom and our peace. Any thoughts? Maybe that will stimulate some discussion.


Simon Benham said...

Hi Matty,

Yes I agree that sometimes it is doing the wrong things that stops us having headroom, although I think it is also true that very often good can be the enemy of best. Anyway, more on this in two weeks time when we look at tithing!