I just finished reading Mark Batterson’s new book, Chase The Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small. Batterson has written several books (including The Circle Maker, All In, and If). What I enjoy about Battersons’ books is his continual three-fold emphasis on faith, courage, and prayer. After each book I’m always inspired to dream bigger, pray harder, and stretch further. Plus, as a church planter, pastor, and writer, I resonate with much of Mark’s story. His stories and experiences are encouraging and challenging.
Chase the Lion is a sequel to In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. It’s the story of Benaiah, King David’s bodyguard, and David’s 37 mighty men. “Chase the Lion” is synonymous with chasing your dreams. For me, five insights from the book challenged me the most.
1. Perspective Changes Everything
Perspective is a difference-maker in life, and as a leader your perspective has a ripple effect in the people you lead. Batterson writes, “If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ll always find one. If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’ll always find one” (p. 5). So what are you looking for? What’s the default response of your attitude toward your circumstances?
2. Dreaming Big Reveals What You Believe About God
Batterson does a great job drawing the best out of people. He tells stories that inspire, and his church planting experience inspires me to always envision a bigger, better, brighter future. He writes, “The size of your dream may be the most accurate measure of the size of your God. Is He bigger than your biggest problem, your worst failure, your greatest mistake? Is He able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine?” (p. 8) I never want to be guilty of dreaming too small, risking too little, and playing it too safe.
3. Cultural Impact Matters
I love Mark’s emphasis on the value found in leading and serving in the various streams of culture. He tells the story of a 20th Century Fox producer who called several presidents of prominent Christian colleges in the 1930s, seeking screenwriters who could produce films with a redemptive message. In Mark’s words, “One president wrote back and said he’d sooner send his young people to hell itself than send them to Hollywood” (p. 16). What a missed opportunity. I appreciate Mark’s commitment to rally leadership in every area of culture, whether business, arts, media, government…you name it; it matters. Not many pastors communicate this message regularly and passionately; thankfully, Mark does.
4. Make Chasing, not Retreating, Your Posture
I love the fact that the lion wasn’t chasing Benaiah, but Benaiah was chasing the lion. That’s a powerful and challenging lesson. Batterson writes, “We celebrate Benaiah because he came out of the lion’s den alive, and that’s an amazing feat, but it’s not the most amazing part of the story. It’s not coming out that is courageous; it’s going in” (p. 100). Are you chasing or retreating? What dream has God inspired within you for His glory?
5. Understand Your Greatest Legacy
Batterson writes, “Your greatest legacy isn’t your dream. Your greatest legacy is the next generation of dreamers that your dream inspires—the dreams within a dream” (p. 13). This is a common theme throughout the book. Mark challenges his readers to honor their upline (those who have invested in them) and empower their downline (those who come after them). This is a great insight, and if leaders embrace this truth it can have profound, generational outcomes. Batterson summarizes this idea when he writes, “Your legacy isn’t your dream. Your legacy is leveraging the dreams of those who come after you. Your legacy is your downlines—those you parent, mentor, coach, and disciple. You may not influence a million people, but who knows? You may influence one person who influences a billion people” (p. 162).
I hope these lessons are as encouraging to you as they were to me. Mark writing is enjoyable, and his insights are helpful, inspiring, and practical. Here are a few more of my favorite quotes:
- “When everything is said and done, God isn’t going to say, “Well said,” “Well thought,” or “Well planned.” There is one measuring stick: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Faithfulness is not holding down the fort. Faithfulness is chasing five-hundred-pound lions. There is a brand of religiosity that seems satisfied with breaking even—don’t do this, don’t do that, and you’ll be okay. The problem with that is: you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right” (p. 4)
- “Mismanaged success is the leading cause of failure. Well-managed failure is the leading cause of success” (p. 22)
- “Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?” (p. 28)
- “Sometimes the greatest opposition to what God wants to do next, comes from those who were on the cutting edge of what God did last.” R.T. Kendall (p. 60)
- “It’s your work ethic plus your prayer ethic that will inch you closer to your dream.” (p. 66)
- “When we operate in faith, we aren’t risking our reputation. We’re risking God’s reputation! And God can handle Himself just fine, thank you. You may doubt yourself because of your lack of education or lack of experience. But if God has called you, you aren’t really doubting yourself. You’re doubting God. God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.” (p. 82)
- “An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity. It’s the decisions when no one is looking that will dictate your destiny. In fact, your integrity is your destiny!” (p. 93)
- “We live in a culture that idolizes success and demonizes failure. But in God’s kingdom the outcome isn’t the issue. Success isn’t winning or losing; it’s obeying.” (p. 100)
- “Don’t accumulate possessions; accumulate experiences.” (p. 121)
- “Don’t seek opportunity; seek God, and opportunity will seek you” (p. 183)
- “Pride is the first chapter in the book of failure. Humility is the first chapter in the book of success.” (p. 187)
- “What are you doing today that will make a difference one hundred years from now?” (p. 191)
Check out Chase the Lion today. You’ll be encouraged, inspired, and challenged to dream bigger, go further, and seek God more.