#035: I deserve to be happy! It’s ALL About ME!!!

I deserve to be happy! It’s all about me! This is an all too common refrain among people–especially here in the U.S.

Happy, Happiness

We are an individualistic culture, largely focused on achieving happiness in our personal lives.

If you don’t believe me take a close look at some of the advertising that surrounds you. Regardless of the vehicle, advertising is directed right at the center of your desire to be happy all the while suggesting that you not only deserve, but need this product, and the sooner you get it the happier you’ll be!

That individualistic “I deserve to be happy, it’s all about me” attitude is also seen in the workplace. There are those who believe climbing the ladder of success will lead to happiness and they could care less who they hurt along the way. After all, “it’s all about me.” They have no problem taking credit for someone else’s work. They also fail to take responsibility for any mistakes they make, or work they do that is less than noteworthy. It’s all about protecting their façade as the perfect employee in the quest to get ahead, because “it’s all about me!”

The big lie we tell ourselves that drives this behavior is that getting what we want will make us happy. The problem is we always want just a little bit more before we are really happy. Just a little bit more, just a little bit higher up the ladder, just one more toy, just a little bigger car, just a little nicer house, the list goes on and frankly, it never ends.

But God tells us happiness in life is not realized by what we have, and the sooner we reject the “it’s all about me” philosophy the better!

Happiness, says God, comes not from our job title, our income, or what we acquire, but from our relationship with Him:

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#034: Help me delegate! I just realized I can’t do it all!

For some reason, a lot of leaders think they are the most qualified person to do all the work, and make all the decisions. They have a real aversion to delegation.

Delegate, Moses, Jethro

Even when they attempt to delegate they can’t resist the temptation to insert themselves back into the very work they just delegated. The result of “delegation aversion syndrome” is overwork, burnout, divorce, low morale, and ultimately, failing organizations.

Moses was appointed by God to shepherd the nation out of bondage in Egypt and take them into the Promised Land. He took this responsibility very seriously, and as a result, he tried to personally take care of every little problem that arose. Imagine, trying to settle all the issues that would come up between a few million people on a march that lasted 40-years!

Moses’ father-in-law sees all the work Moses is doing trying to lead the people and knows that he will wear himself out, so he offers advice on why and how to delegate some of his workload.

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#033: Another Enemy! What’s a Leader to Do?

Have you ever felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was just another train? There are times when, as leaders, we get hit with issues one after another from inside our organizations, and right in the midst of dealing with our own organizations, a competitor deals us a severe blow that we were not expecting. What’s a leader to do?

Enemy Defeated

I think this must be exactly how Moses felt as he was leading the nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. God has miraculously saved them with the parting of the Red Sea and is now leading them through the desert by way of a pillar of fire at night, and a pillar of clouds during the day.

Despite having the presence of God visibly guiding them, these folks start whining about not having enough water. God, through Moses, gives them water. Then they start complaining about not having meat—even though God is supplying all the Manna they can eat, so God sends meat in the form of quail.

If dealing with the complaints from a few million of his own people weren’t enough, Moses is attacked from behind by the Amalekites. The story of what happened is recounted in Exodus 17:

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#032: Empowered by Grace

Gaining the Discipline, Commitment, and Determination You Need to Succeed

Paul, writing to his young protégé Timothy says, “…be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1 ESV). The Greek word endunamou translated as “strengthened” can also be translated as “empowered,” “be empowered by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This strength, this empowerment, is a divine gift bestowed upon us only by Jesus Christ.

Empowerment, Empower

What is it that we are empowered to do? In the next verse, Paul tells Timothy to entrust the Gospel to faithful men who will be able to teach others. While we are many generations removed from Paul’s instruction to Timothy, the imperative to proclaim the Gospel falls upon us as well. We are empowered to teach the Good News to faithful men so that they may teach it to others!

Paul warns Timothy that faithful soldiers in Christ’s army should expect hardship (v. 3). The work of ministry is not a “soft” job for the weak-hearted. Paul uses three metaphors; that of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer to describe what is needed as we serve in Christ’s army.

Soldier. The soldier has a single-minded focus on the mission. They exhibit rigorous discipline and unquestioning obedience to their commanding officer.

Athlete. The athlete competes to win a prize but to win they must compete according to the rules. An athlete who is undisciplined and breaks the rules is disqualified from the competition.

Farmer. The farmer is hard-working. They work all year preparing the soil, planting the seed, and caring for the crop. The farmer must be hard-working, patient, and disciplined to reap a harvest.

Serving in ministry requires the single-minded focus and discipline of a soldier, the commitment of an athlete to train and abide by the rules God has set down, and the determination to work hard and be patient like the farmer in order to reap the ultimate harvest!

It is no wonder that Paul tells Timothy that he is empowered by the grace of Christ because certainly, no one can accomplish such work on his or her own power!

Application

Some of you may be thinking that this applies to the “professionals” in ministry, but that is just not the case! The Scripture says that we are called to be servants, ministers of the Gospel. Your pastor has 30-60 minutes a week to present a message to an audience that is largely already in the boat. But as a minister in the marketplace, you have 40-60 hours per week where your ministry is a light before men. And your audience of co-workers is likely comprised of people who need to hear the message of Christ. So develop the single-minded focus of the soldier, the commitment of an athlete, and the discipline of the farmer empowered by the grace of God to reach and teach others the Good News!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What experiences have you had as a minister in the workplace? What difficulties have you encountered? What success has God brought you?

Category: Skills | Empowerment

 

#031: Power versus Empower

Leaders have a choice. They can lead by exerting power or by empowering their organizations. The Bible contains examples of both leadership styles.

Acts 1:8, Empower

Leaders who empower their organizations tend to establish a vision and then get out of the way, trusting in the skills of their employees. This is the kind of leader Jesus was–an empowering leader. Jesus’ last words to the disciples before He was taken up to heaven cast a vision for their work, a strategy for how the work was to be done, and a promise of power to accomplish the work.

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NASB).

The Vision. You will be my witnesses throughout the world.

The Strategy. A progression of ever wider circles starting in Jerusalem, moving on to Judea and Samaria, and finally to all the world. This can be interpreted several ways—commonly either geographically or culturally. Geographically, Jerusalem represents people in your own local area of influence—your town. Judea and Samaria represent your state or country, and the rest of the world represents all nations. Culturally, Jerusalem represents people like yourself, your own culture. Judea and Samaria are close cousins—people with whom you share elements of culture, and the rest of the world includes people of all cultures.

The Power. The power to complete this great work does not come from your own flesh, but from the Holy Spirit.

Application

Jesus gave the disciples exactly what they needed, the power, to fulfill their mission. But one thing Jesus did first is He spent three years with His disciples training and preparing them for the work that He knew lay ahead.

Employees may understand and believe in your vision. They may even understand and accept their role in the strategy. But if you do not do two other things you are most certainly doomed to failure as a leader.

  1. As a leader, your first task is to train and develop people so that they are prepared for the work.
  2. Leaders may not be able to literally supply the power people need, but they can and must empower them by creating conditions for success and supplying the resources needed.

As a leader, it is your job to recruit, develop, and deploy people in areas where they can maximize their impact. Next, you need to empower them, and this is important, then get out of their way!

 Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. As a leader have you experienced the power of employee empowerment? As a leader have you been empowered the organization only to find yourself continuing to “get in the way”?

Category: Skills | Communicating Vision