Guest: The Art of Refining

Colloquial expressions might be overly simplistic at times, but they often convey one or more
profound nuggets of timeless wisdom. “The devil is in the details” is one such colloquial
expression that conveys a profound truth about the need for humans to pay attention to
details.

Many people are “big picture” people. By this I mean, they see the larger and broader issues of
a subject matter. They are often passionately, preoccupied with a big idea that they become
blind to the details involved in the big idea. Other people are often aware that the details exist,
but are typically uninterested in exploring the details. These individuals have little or no
motivation to work with and work through details. Yet, the unwillingness to attend to details
often leads to compounded problems overtime.

Details matter! Misunderstandings, contentions and conflicts between staff members and
parties to a contractual agreement are often the byproduct of details that were not initially
exposed and fixed. This is especially true of job descriptions and business contracts. This is why
it is important to include the art of refining in one’s leadership. If you are not a detailed person,
use those on your team that God has given this type of mind or hire someone who is qualified
and competent in areas requiring attention to details; areas such as accounting, HR and legal
affairs. Critical areas of a ministry, church or business should not be led by people who do not
possess a value for sifting and sorting through the details of a matter.

Part of refining is not only having qualified and trained workers in key roles, it is also for leaders
to make time to read important documents. You would be amazed how many people in
leadership positions sign their names to documents they never read to gain an understanding
of the details they are signing to. Many people lost businesses, contracts, voting rights, shares,
titles, benefits, estates, etc, simply because they explicitly trusted whomever gave them a
document to sign. It is important that you read carefully and ask a third party to explain what
you do not understand. Being a refiner is to be patient, have a sense of curiosity and humility to
seek help if it is needed to explain, clarify or discuss a subject matter to gain more
understanding.

The devil is in the details, but so is God! He who created the incredibly, large universe also
created the microscopic cell that cannot be seen by the human eye without technological
assistance. God wants to bring order, structure, and understanding to the details, so that they
complement to one’s mission and not become a problem along the way.

By Kiplin Batchelor