I’ve had the chance over the past few weeks to talk to many of you who are stuck in some really difficult situations.
In the past few days, I’ve spoken with one person who would like to leave their job, one person who’d like to change churches, and another person who’d like to get a raise for the extra workload they have taken on at their job.
All of these situations require wisdom, delicate handling, and much prayer.
Additionally, I’d like to suggest the use of the most wonderful little TOOL that comes straight from the Bible.
- People used this tool in early Bible days to solve disputes (Deuteronomy 17)
- Nathan used this tool also in speaking with David (1 Samuel 12)
- Abigail used this tool in talking to King David (1 Samuel 25)
- Paul used this tool in speaking with Agrippa (Acts 26)
What is this awesome and powerful tool?
It’s an “APPEAL.”
According to Dictionary.com, an appeal is both:
1} An earnest request for aid, support, sympathy, or mercy, and
2} A request to a person in authority for a decision.
We make appeals when we get pulled over for speeding. We make appeals when we want a lower price or a better deal. We make appeals to our husbands and wives, boyfreinds and girlfriends, parents and children.
People make appeals at work, at home, in traffic, at church, in relationships, and in almost every facet of life. We make appeals almost daily without even thinking about it.
However, the “appeal” I’m talking about today is a well-thought-out, planned, and prayed over a request for something.
It’s when we deliberately and intentionally go to a person with a personal and meaningful request for help, for relief, or for something tangible.
Maybe today you are in a place where you need to make an appeal.
If so, may I suggest a few words of wisdom before you go to make your appeal?
First, pray over this appeal for several days before formally presenting it to the person.
This will prepare your heart and theirs.
Second, plan and think through your appeal before you go.
You may even want to write out or type out your thoughts before you appeal.
Think through these questions:
- Why are you asking for this thing?
- Why does this matter to you so much?
- What exactly are you asking for? A raise? A change? Help? More? Less?
- How will this “THING” benefit you? What’s it for?
- What would you be willing to do if this “THING” was given to you?
- Why will this matter to the person to whom you are appealing?
For example, let’s say you have worked at a company or a business for a long time for a very steady amount of money.
However, your family is growing, and you need more money. You might answer like this:
1} Why are you asking for this thing?
(Family expenses and needs have increased.)
2} Why does this matter to you so much?
(You love your family and want to provide.)
3} What exactly are you asking for? A raise? A change? Help? More? Less?
4} How will this “THING” benefit you? What’s it for?
(Less stress, can quit 2nd job, pay for childcare.)
5} What would you be willing to do if this “THING” was given to you?
(Take on more work, give more, spend more time at the job, quit the other job.)
6} Why will this matter to the person to whom you are appealing?
(You need to make sure to let them know how your raise will benefit the company and how your raise will make things better for everyone.)
Once you’ve prayed and thought through why you are making the appeal, you will also need to consider HOW you will make this appeal.
What will you say and how?
Why not try the SANDWICH METHOD?
Years ago, I read a chapter in a book that taught married couples to communicate using the “Sandwich Method.”
Basically, you start with the positive (the first piece of bread), then you move the appeal (the middle of the sandwich), and then you add the next steps (the bottom piece of the bread.)
Let’s say you are appealing to your pastor about something that is happening/you wish was happening at your church:
First Piece of Bread –
“Pastor, I so appreciate you and our church. It’s been a joy for our family to be here now for over 5 years. We really love ABC Church.”
Middle of Sandwich –
“As you know, I really love encouraging younger women. It’s my joy to teach a ladies’ Bible class each Sunday. I’d like to ask you to prayerfully consider something new.
Would you pray about us starting a ministry that could reach women throughout the church – women of all ages? To start, we’d only need a place to meet and a little money to buy some books. Once the women pay us back for the books, we could then use that money to expand the ministry.”
Bottom Piece of Bread –
“I guess I’d be the one to lead this group and get things started. I’ll be happy to work under your authority and speak with any other staff you’d like me to speak with. We’d love to start in March, and we’d begin with an 8-week Bible study that I would teach.”
“I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.”
Third, go to the person and make your appeal. Set up an appointment for better results.
Once your appeal is made, you listen, you respond respectfully, and you accept the decision passed down.
- You may love their decision! It may be that your appeal yields great results! Woohoo!
- Or, you may be disappointed in their response. You can continue to pray and possibly appeal again in the future.
The beauty of an appeal is the way it allows you to share your heart respectfully, orderly, and with great earnest.
There is power indirectly appealing to those in authority in our lives.
Possibly the greatest example of an appeal in the Bible is when Paul appealed to God to take away the thorn in his flesh.
“So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NLT)
Like Paul, you may not get the answer you pray and ask for.
If God (or your authority figure) denies your appeal, God will give you the grace to keep doing what you are doing.
Sometimes, God does graciously grant our appeal (or lead our authority figure to do so.) When this happens, we will also need God’s grace.
Be encouraged by this word today:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
Have you made an appeal??
I’d love to hear about it.
What did you do and how did it go?
You can respond in the “comments” section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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