“In A Pinch”: Things to Consider When You Have More Needs than Resources

Have you ever been “in a pinch?” 

You know, a situation where you needed to get something done and didn’t have the time, resources or money to get it done like you’d like? I think we all have and I really don’t think you can promise yourself that you’ll never be in a pinch again because things are not always in your control, however, there is something to be said for how you bounce back from being in a pinch. Let’s talk about what we do when we’re in a pinch and how we can re-structure some things to avoid being in the same pinch again.

When we’re in a pinch we usually make one of a few choices:
1. Give Up – This is the easiest way to deal with more work than time, money or resources. You just give up! Before we come down too hard on this option, it is important to understand when to quit and when to press.

Why are you doing this anyway? What’s your motive? Who does it benefit? Who told you that you had to do this? Ask God whether this is something you should be doing in the first place?

Should you determine that this is something you should do, you’ll probably move to one of the next 2 options:

2. Make-Do – Sometimes, we sacrifice “best” for “best at the time.” For instance, a recipe calls for “buttermilk” but we don’t have any and mix up a little lemon juice and milk or there should be 8 steps to this process but “in a pinch” you can get by with doing just 5 of the steps.

The thing with making do is that quality is usually the thing on the chopping block when you are making do. This should be measured carefully because your “brand” is your promise of quality to your customers. If you go to McDonald’s in Tacoma, Washington or Springfield, Illinois, you expect the Big Mac and Fries to taste the same. If you buy a Coke in Atlanta, Ga. or Juneau, Alaska, it ought to taste like a Coke!

Still, there are those times when “making do” is alright as a short term measure. Consider 2 Chronicles 30 – this is the story of Hezekiah’s rededication of the temple. Short-staffed on consecrated priests, check out what King Hezekiah did:

17 Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the LORD.18 Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon those19 who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” 20 And the LORD listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

Hezekiah was actually in violation of the strict letter of the law but God heard his prayer and allowed him to make do this time (although we’ll see later that this wasn’t Hezekiah’s long term plan).

3. Get Reinforcements – Sometimes when you’re in a pinch, the thing to do is to get reinforcements. The thing to look out for here is that you don’t rush to bring in whoever is “available” without regard to whether they are “able” or not. Sometimes when we’re in a pinch we reach for the first person breathing which is usually a mistake.

Think about it…when we rush to bring in people despite obvious incongruences as it relates to competence, chemistry and character, we are sure to run into bigger problems later. Worse, it is a sign of independence from God—it’s like us telling God that we don’t trust that He’ll help us so we needed to go find some “real” help. It’s a mistake that we’re prone to make so, how can we avoid getting to this point?

Let’s look at 3 responses to being in a pinch that can help us:

  • Restructure – Maybe something is wrong with how you’ve got things set up? If you’re running into the same problem over and over, ask, “Is it the system?” or “Is it the people?” Commit to fix the problem no matter what that means because if “it” is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
  • Reform – Maybe you’ll find that the way you thought things had to be done is not the only way after all. Sometimes you have to step back from your own way of doing things to get wisdom and perspective from someone else who can get you to the goal using a better method.
  • Repent – Maybe the problem is you? Do you continue to be in a pinch because of procrastination or poor work ethic? Do you keep making the same mistake? If so, repent—change the way you think—by renewing your mind! You’ve got to get new data in so you can get a new perspective and then have the courage to follow your convictions.

Thanks for reading today. I pray these thoughts will be an encouragement and a blessing for you.

Today’s Scripture to Consider: 2 Chronicles 30

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