My Greatest Struggle As A Leader

There’s an idea that you have it made when you’re placed into a leadership position. This idea isn’t shared by anyone in that position. This month marks two years since I was hired as a supervisor, and at times it’s a grievous burden to be a leader.

Why?

Because I care.

First some background. The position was created around four years earlier and I applied both times. I was unsaved the first time and was planning on using my knowledge of social dynamics to manipulate people to do what I wanted. Me against them, seeing them mostly as cogs in a machine. I didn’t care then.

I took my name out of the running before I was interviewed.

The second time the position opened up, I had been a Christ-follower for a year and prayed about it. Obviously I got it, and honestly, I regret it at times.

The Grievous Burden

What grieves me is those that were terminated or quit under my care. One young guy tried so hard, yet just couldn’t cut it in the position he was hired for. I worked with him, encouraged him, and got to know him. He was let go.

His last day I knew it was coming, and it broke my heart to see him trying so hard still. He had no clue that he’d wake up to a phone call the next morning informing him that he was fired.

Another guy, a good worker, hurt himself and was given every chance in the world. When he was skipped over during a hiring cycle, I was one of the ones to talk him, to talk him out of quitting. Encouraging him to excel in another position at the plant.

And he did. Then he lost his temper, quitting before they could fire him.

Another, recently, was fired. Had been employed at least two years, with problems a mile long, often disciplined, and missed work a lot. He lived nearby so I gave him rides when I could to keep him from getting fired for absenteeism. Ended up counseling him often when we weren’t geeking out over comics. He was a friend.

Time For Confrontation

The day he was fired, I learned of a bet on when it was going to happen. The attitude displayed in it angered and disappointed me. Especially since it was someone else who I’m mentoring now.

I confronted him, asking if it was true.

“Maybe…” he answered hesitatingly.
“He may have brought it on himself, but it is heartless to bet on another losing their job.”

The kicker is, he rigged the bet, having overheard about it. I mourned the loss of integrity. You know the saying ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’? That was what was happening then.

His justification was he wanted to get one over on the other guy. I quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:15 to him, “don’t repay evil for evil”.

Afterwards, I determined that the day I don’t grieve the loss of one of the crew is the day I step down as a supervisor. I will have lost my heart.

How Can I Reconcile All This?

You see, when you see those who work under your authority as people who have lives, hopes, dreams, and struggles instead as pieces on a chessboard, you will start to care about them. It’s not you versus them, it’s you and them together with the goal to do the job well. All balanced on the good of the customer, the company, and them as a person.

At least that’s how I see it.

What An Ancient Jew Can Teach You About Relationships

We’re studying Esther in church, as a church. We were given a study guide so we can all go in-depth. This book is fascinating, especially when you consider the history. The Xerxes in Esther is the same one who faced the Spartan King Leonidas at Thermopylae.

Meet Mordecai and Esther

In chapter two we meet a pair of cousins, Mordecai and Esther. He adopted her after her parents died. When Xerxes took her into his harem, we discover in Esther 2:11 how much Mordecai cared for her.

Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

He kept in touch. His level of concern apparent by how often he was checking on her emotional state and circumstances.

Lessons From Mordecai

The first lesson is to stay in touch with who you care for. The internet makes it easier for long-distance relationships or keeping up with the day-to-day of friends and family. Texting, too, is convenient; it just sits there until looked at.

However, that only gives us part of the story. We usually put our best face forward on Facebook and hide our struggles.

This brings us to our second and third lessons, check on their emotional and spiritual states, and know what’s going on in their lives. 

Mordecai kept in touch with Esther, checking on her often. He wanted to know what was happening, and how she felt about it. To sum up the lessons, stay in touch with who you care for by staying involved in their lives and how they’re handling it. Bottom line: relationships matter.

Being More Than Your Word; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’”

Jesus was referencing the Law in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. An oath is invoking God’s witness that you’re telling the truth. Nothing wrong with that, right?

But I tell you…

Or not.

…do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

Is Jesus saying that our integrity should be so great that we didn’t need an oath? I know a few thought that way.

A disciple leaned over, saying quietly, “I have always tried to avoid the curse by swearing on something less than God.”
“Not anymore,” I whispered back.

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

“Fear from the evil one?” What’s that mean? Any breaking of your word is evil? I can see the core of this being integrity though.

Matthew 5:33-37
Leviticus 19:12

Numbers 30:2
Deuteronomy 23:21-22