A Little Bit Of Honey

Jon Burgess


“Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭14:29-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Saul had made a rash vow for he and his soldiers. They swore before the Lord not to eat anything until their enemies were conquered. This sounds very spiritual and appears to be a declaration of dependence upon God. It was in fact very foolish and the opposite of what God wanted for His people. The proof that Saul was playing fast and loose with God's laws is seen all throughout the narrative. So, if God isn't going to help then how do you motivate your men to fight for you? A spiritual guilt trip combined with a rousing battle cry and the obvious reality that their enemy was already on the run should do the trick. Yes, it was a brilliant move on Saul's part to use the momentum God had given his son Jonathan to bolster his own position. In fact, it worked! At least in the short term. They routed the enemy but were so exhausted from lack of food and a full day of fighting that they fell into sin by eating raw meat when the battle was done. Leadership that has to rely on guilt, manipulation, control and coercion to get the job done is not true leadership at all. It may look like a win on the books and to those on the outside for a while, but in the long run its a loss. This kind of leadership style says the ends justify the means and results outweigh the Golden Rule. If the people working for you are burning out left and right it's not a commitment issue, it's a leadership issue. It could be all you need to do is offer a little bit of honey along the way.


Why is it that Google has been ranked by Fortune Magazine as the top company to work for 7 times out of the last 10 years? One Googler explained: "The company culture truly makes workers feel they're valued and respected as a human being, not as a cog in a machine. The perks are phenomenal. From three prepared organic meals a day to unlimited snacks, artisan coffee and tea to free personal-fitness classes, health clinics, on-site oil changes, haircuts, spa truck, bike-repair truck, nap pods, free on-site laundry rooms, and subsidized wash and fold. The list is endless." Now, that's leading with a little bit of honey! I don't know what a "spa truck" is but I want one. I'd also like to put my order in now for a "nap pod" to arrive on my doorstep ASAP! Now, most of us look at that list and think our team is lucky if they get coffee that's not cold and doughnuts that aren't day-old. The point isn't the amount of perks, it's prioritizing the person so they know they matter. Jonathan's assessment of Saul could be true of many of our teams. Sure, they won the battle with the Philistines but they lost the war for their souls. Rather then a sweet victory celebration they were stuck under a wave of guilt and weariness. If your victories with your team have been less then stellar lately take a moment to add a little honey along the way. If the only thing you do together is work, find some creative ways to build relationships outside of work. Prioritize fun in your planning sessions. Initially fun won't seem to benefit your bottom line but, if you want your team with you for the long run pass the honey along. It will brighten their eyes, put a spring in their step and convince them to work all the harder. Why? Not because of what you give them, but because it shows you care about them more then the outcome. People over programs. Goodness wins out over guilt as a prime motivator in the long run. Relationships are what will convince your team to stick around when the work remains rigorous and demanding. Because, at the core, we just want to know we matter for who we are not just for what we do.


Lord, thank You for this powerful leadership lesson today from Your Word. I pray that I would be a Jonathan leader and not a Saul leader with the amazing team of people you have called me to serve. I pray for creative ideas on a how to lead them with a little bit of honey along the way. The task You've called us to is demanding, the battle for souls is fierce. Let me lead Your people with wise direction not rash decisions in the heat of the movement.

Devotions for April 13

1 Samuel 14
1 Chronicles 4
2 Corinthians 13

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