When I was a kid, my dad always had a caption that he attached to the glass of his car’s speedometer that he had made on a labelmaker. Not a different phrase, but the same phrase, year after year and from one car to the next. It simply said, “Eat that frog”. He would occasionally explain what it meant to me. “Son, if you have a frog to eat today, eat it early in morning and get it over with. I promise you, it won’t taste any better at the end of the day.”
Later, I remember my dad adding a corollary. “If you have more than one frog to eat today, eat the big one first.”
Now there is a book titled Eat that Frog. No, my dad didn’t write it, but I know now where he got the phrase.
Most of us are expert procrastinators. We have practiced and perfected the craft of putting off unpleasant things that we need to get done. Unfortunately, practicing the art of procrastination is not in our best interests. Almost always, the unpleasant issue that we need to address is the most important thing that we have facing us today. Procrastinate long enough, and the issue moves from being important to becoming urgent. I’ve learned this about those frogs we need to eat…
The longer you wait to eat the frog,
the bigger and fatter the frog becomes.
If you don’t believe the above statement is true, put off returning a Sunday School teacher’s call for a few days. A small frog that you could have swallowed whole has now become a monster! You’ll need some ketchup and a steak knife to be able to eat it now.
I can’t tell you how many small issues exploded into big ones because of procrastination. Or how many large problems became even larger because I put them off to do tomorrow.
Churches are full of gracious people. Unfortunately, sometimes the church staff takes that grace for granted. At some point in time, our excuses for not getting something done wears thin with our people, and when it does you lose your credibility. As a leader, when it comes right down to it… credibility is all you’ve got. A leader that loses credibility is no longer a leader. You may still have the position, but you have sacrificed your influence. You can get your credibility back, by the way. But you’ve got to eat a lot of frogs before credibility is restored.
An executive-director I used to work for with the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention came to work every day with a piece of paper with five action items on it. Only five. They were his five frogs that he had to eat that day. Not only did he get those five action items done almost every day, he usually had them done by noon. Coincidentally, he was a very pleasant person to be around.
Eating the frog every day has long term consequences. There are frogs to eat if you want your church to be the missional body of Christ in your community. There are things that God wants your church to do – great and might things which you do not even know – that can only be achieved by eating your frog daily.
You will regret next year what you put off doing today!
So make that daily “to-do” list, and put the biggest, ugliest frog you’ve got to eat at the top of the list.
Then eat him!!
Frog-eaters – UNITE!