#162: How Distrust, Conjecture, and Hasty Actions Lead to Disaster

It seems like every day reading my news feed I see a story about some executive who acted impulsively and their actions led to disaster.

Distrust

You know the type. They are the “Ready, Fire, Aim” guys. The “Shoot first and ask questions later guys.”

It turns out this is not a new phenomenon among leaders.

While reading Joshua 22, I noticed how some “Ready, Fire, Aim” leaders combined with the unholy trinity of distrust, conjecture, and hasty action nearly led to civil war between the Israelites.

The Israelites had driven out the inhabitants of the Promised land over a period of several years. When they were done, the eastern tribes left the western tribes to journey back across the Jordan River to occupy their land.

The eastern tribes built a large altar after they crossed the Jordan and when the western tribes heard about it, they all assembled to go to war against their eastern tribe brothers.

They assumed that the eastern tribes were planning on making sacrifices at the altar. This was in direct violation of God’s command to only offer sacrifices at the Tabernacle.

We’re not told who, but someone decided to assemble a delegation of leaders from the ten western tribes and go talk to the leaders of the eastern tribes.

They immediately accused eastern tribes saying the altar they built was a sign of their rebellion against God. They assumed the altar was built to offer sacrifices in violation of God’s command. They concluded that God would be angry and judge the entire nation of Israel because of their rebellion.

The eastern tribes explained the assumptions and conclusion reached by the leaders of the western tribes were all false. They built the altar, not for sacrifices, but as a witness between their people of their special relationship to God. It was to serve as a reminder to future generations how they shared in the great blessings of God.

The situation between the western and eastern tribes of Israel reveals the deadly nature of distrust, conjecture, and hasty actions, and how a decision to ask questions and listen avoided disaster:

  1. No one sought God’s counsel. The western tribes were greatly concerned when they thought the eastern tribes were rebelling against God. Nowhere though do we see that they sought God’s counsel.
  2. Distrust and conjecture are a dangerous combination. The western tribes had been fighting alongside their eastern brothers for several years, yet they immediately distrusted them when they heard about the altar and assumed the worst.
  3. Based on incomplete information they hastily prepared for war. Having concluded the eastern tribes were rebelling against God, the western tribes prepared to go to war against their eastern brothers.
  4. Cooler heads prevailed. A summit between the western and eastern leaders was held.
  5. Someone finally listened. The western tribes immediately made their accusations. As the eastern tribes explained their reasoning behind building the altar, the western tribe leaders finally understood and returned home in peace.

A civil war was nearly fought between brothers all because of a lack of trust, wild conjecture that led to false assumptions and conclusions, followed by a hasty decision to act.

The wisdom of Proverbs 18:13 comes to mind, He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame.”

As Christians who bear the responsibility of leading, we should never assume we have all the facts in a given situation. Basing actions on incomplete information, assumptions, and conjecture will almost always be to our folly and shame.

Mr. Covey was right when he said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you encountered situations in which leaders made hasty decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete information? What impact did it have on the organization?

 

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Category: Skills | Communication Skills

 

 

 

 

#161: Our Passionate Response to Passion Week

Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. It is the period of time between Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and His resurrection.

Risen Passion

As Christians, it is important for us to understand the events of Passion Week and our response to it.

Sunday

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:12-19)).

As He approaches the city, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44).

Jesus visits the Temple (mark 11:11).

Jesus goes to Bethany and spends the night there (Matthew 21:17).

Monday

Jesus leaves Bethany early in the morning to return to Jerusalem. On his way, He curses the fig tree and teaches the disciples about faith (Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:12-14).

Jesus cleanses the Temple by driving out the moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46).

Jesus returns to Bethany with the Disciples (Mark 11:19).

Tuesday

Jesus leaves Bethany early in the morning and notes the fig tree he cursed the day before is withered (Matthew 21:20-22, Mark 11:20-26).

As Jesus enters the Temple, His authority is questioned by the chief priests and elders (Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8).

Jesus delivers the Olivet discourse as He is leaving the Temple (Matthew 24:1-25:46, Mark 13:1-37, Luke 21:5-36)

Wednesday

No activity regarding Jesus is recorded in the Gospels. He spends the day and night in Bethany.

The chief priests and elders plot to kill Jesus (Matthew 26:1-5, Mark 14:1-2, Luke 22:1-2, John 11:47-53).

Judas agrees to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6, John 13:2, 27).

Thursday

Preparations are made for the Passover (Matthew 26:17-20, Mark 14:12-17, Luke 22:7-14).

Jesus washes the disciple’s feet and foretells His betrayal during the Last Supper (Matthew 26:20-35, Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-30).

Jesus left with the disciples and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. He left the disciples and going a little further He prayed to the Father (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46).

Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested (Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:2-12).

Friday

Jesus endures three Jewish trials before Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-27:2, Mark 14:53-15:1, Luke 22:54-71, John 18:13-24).

Jesus endures three Roman trials before Pilate, Herod, and Pilate a second time (Matthew 27:2-26, Mark 15:2-15, Luke 23:1-25, John 18:28-19:16).

Jesus is condemned, tortured, and crucified (sometime between 9:00 am and 12 noon) (Matthew 27:27-54, Mark 15:16-39, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:16-37). Darkness came over the land from noon to 3:00 pm. About 3:00 pm Jesus cried out to God and gave up His spirit.

Jesus’ death is confirmed by Pilate. Pilate gives permission to Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus. Jesus is buried in the evening. The stone is rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb (Matthew 27:57-66, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-54, John 19:38-42).

Saturday

Jesus’ tomb is sealed and Jewish leaders request guards be stationed in front of Jesus’ tomb (Matthew 27:62-66).

Sunday

At dawn, Mary Magdalene and Mary went to Jesus’ tomb. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled the stone away and was sitting on it when the women arrived. The angel told them Jesus had been resurrected and to go and tell the disciples (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-13).

As they were going, Jesus appeared to the women (Matthew 28:9-10, Luke 24:10-11, John 20:14-18).

Jesus appears to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34), to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), to the disciples including Thomas (Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-29).

Our Passionate Response

Passion Week is so named because of the passion Jesus demonstrated throughout His final week on earth. He cared so much for us that, despite knowing what lay ahead, He committed Himself to doing the will of the Father.

Jesus submitted to humiliation, torture, crucifixion, and having the weight of the sins of the world placed upon Him. Through His sacrifice as the sinless Lamb of God, we are able to stand before the Lord sinless, adopted into the Father’s family as His children.

How can we be anything less than passionate in our worship of our Lord and Savior?!

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As always questions and comments are welcome.

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The timing and exact order of some events of Passion Week are difficult to determine with certainty so you may have seen events arranged in a slightly different order. Also, I have not attempted to include everything that occurred during Passion Week – only the major events that pertain to the Lord’s eventual capture and crucifixion.

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

 

 

 

#160: Six Leadership Lessons from a Woman of Valor, Conviction, and Faith

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

We can learn much from studying the lesser known leaders in the Bible. One of the most unusual and certainly lesser known is Deborah.

Deborah Leader

There was a period of time between the leadership of Moses and Joshua, and the appointment of Saul as King of the Israelites when the Israelites were led by a series of judges. Deborah was the fourth judge over the Israelites.

We know very little about Deborah; where she came from or how she came to power. When we meet her in Judges 4 she is described as a prophetess and judge over the people of Israel. In those days, a prophet or prophetess was someone who delivered God’s messages to the people. As a judge, the people of Israel came to her to settle disputes. Deborah was the spiritual and civil leader of the entire nation of Israel!

As our story unfolds, the people of Israel had been brutally oppressed for 20 years by Jabin, king of Canaan.

Deborah called for her military commander, a man named Barak, and told him to assemble his army. Deborah gave him specific instructions from God to gather 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor (pictured above) where they would attack the Canaanites.

Barak conditioned his response saying he would go, but only if Deborah would go with him.

Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, heard about Barak’s army gathered at Mount Tabor. Sisera gathered his army which included 900 chariots in a nearby valley.

Deborah ordered Barak to attack saying, this is the day the Lord has given him into your hands. Barak attacked with his army, and God went before him. God caused a great rainstorm that effectively immobilized Sisera’s chariots, throwing the entire army into a state of confusion.

Barak’s army attacked and pursued the fleeing Canaanites until not a man was left standing.

Six Important Leadership Lessons from Deborah

Deborah was a woman of faith. God had selected her among all the men and women of Israel to be His prophet and judge, and she was faithful in her response to His call.

Lesson for us. God raises up men and women of faith to fulfill specific needs at specific times. God calls men and women from all walks of life, and whom God calls, God equips!

Deborah responded to God’s call to arms. As unlikely as it may have seemed when God told her to assemble an army and attack the powerful Canaanites, Deborah responded by ordering Barak to prepare for battle.

Lesson for us. As Christians, we must remain faithful and respond positively to God’s call. It is one thing to hear God’s call, it is quite another to say yes to God despite our own fears and doubts.

Deborah remained steadfast in the face of her reluctant commander. Perhaps wanting to be sure this was a message from God, Barak wanted Deborah to accompany him. Deborah remained steadfast following the Lord’s instructions and encouraging Barak.

Lesson for us. When responding to God’s call, we must remain resolute in the face of the naysayers. There will always be those who are reluctant to follow God’s leading, but we must not allow them to deter us from following His call.

Deborah acted on God’s timing. Deborah ordered Barak to attack, saying “this is the day.”

Lesson for us. We must take action on God’s timing. This is a tough one for many of us. We either tend to act ahead of God’s leading, or procrastinate, and not go when He says, “GO.”

Deborah trusted God. God had promised victory and that He would go before the Israelite army. Deborah ordered the attack trusting in the promise of God.

Lesson for us. We must act on God’s calling trusting He will do exactly as He has promised.

Deborah gave praise to God. When the battle was concluded Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise and thanksgiving to God for giving them victory over their oppressors (Judges 5).

Lesson for us. Where God leads, God equips and provides. Let’s not forget to give praise and thanks to God for His grace in our lives!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Which of these leadership lessons do you tend to struggle with the most?

 

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Category: Personal Development | Leader Qualifications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#159: The Temple Moneychangers–A Guide to Biblical Marketing

Business people in Jesus’ day did not have government organizations to watch over the way they marketed products; the labels used on food products, or claims made about the products they sold. But that certainly doesn’t mean the Bible is silent on the subject of biblical principles for marketing.

Temple Moneychangers Marketing

Jesus took offense to men who were selling animals for sacrifice at the temple for usury prices. He strode up to them, overturned their tables, and drove them out of the temple area saying, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers’” (Matt 21:13). Even in those days, there were marketers anxious to take advantage by making false product claims to make huge profits at the expense of others.

Before we get too far, we should understand what role marketing has in business. Ask the person on the street, and the answer you’ll get is often “selling” or “advertising.” More than a few corporate employees will offer the same answer.

While these answers are not completely incorrect, they are only a part of the marketing function. Simply put, marketing is the sum total of the efforts needed to bring a product to market. The American Marketing Association established a more formal definition:

“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promoting, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges which satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”

Clearly, marketing is more than just “selling” or “advertising.”

Getting Started

The best way we can meet God’s standards is to understand the basic Biblical principles that apply to marketing. Here are twelve principles you can use as marketing guidelines:

Love God and Serve Him. The primary question we should ask ourselves is, “Is what I am doing bringing honor and glory to God?”

A Pharisee lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” To which Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and all your heart. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt 22:36-37).

Obey the Law. Many scriptures relate to the way we are to obey man’s law. Paul instructed the Christian church at Rome to submit to the governing authorities because “they are also God’s servants.” Paul went on to say that we should pay taxes if we owe them, and to give respect and honor where due (Romans 13:1-7).

In the Sermon On the Mount, Jesus said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt 5:41). It was the custom in those days that a Roman soldier could require a citizen to carry their loads for a mile. Jesus is saying that we should not only accept this first mile but go an additional mile.

Love Others. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:6-7).

Paul does not make an exception for customers or clients. We are to love everyone. And that love should manifest itself in the way we treat others. Customers should be able to trust the claims we make for our products. They should have faith in our guarantees.

Finally, love perseveres. This means that you should care about the people you do business with not just at the moment of sale, but all the time, for the long-term.

Be Honest. Leviticus says clearly, “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another” (Lev 19:11).

The commandments not to steal or lie are pretty clear and come as no surprise, but the area of deception is a little tougher to deal with for the marketer.

For example, we should not make claims that are difficult for our customers to understand.

We should not downsize the weight of a package of goods while leaving the package the same size. This practice has become very prevalent in the food industry. Haven’t you ever wondered why that bag of potato chips doesn’t serve as many people as it used to? Simple. The product weight keeps getting reduced to keep the retail price at a certain point.

Don’t Show Partiality. Proverbs 28:21 says, “To show partiality is not good.” Paul commands Timothy to “keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism” (1 Tim 5:21).

For the marketer, this means allowing all customers equal access to product and making sure that promotions are available to all customers on fair and equal terms.

Be at Peace With Others. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “Live in peace with one another” (1 Thess. 5:13).

For the marketers, this means that we should do all we can to resolve differences between us, our customers, and our suppliers.

Fill Others’ Needs. Ephesians tells us to be “imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). Jesus instructs the disciples saying, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matt 6:8).

As marketers, we should try to fill the needs of our customers. Not perhaps the wants, but certainly the needs. That means that we should build safety into products: seat belts, 5-mile per hour bumpers, airbags, dolls without metal parts, etc.

Be Compassionate. Colossians 3:12 tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

As marketers, we should be sympathetic to our suppliers and customers’ situations. We should not, therefore, take advantage of the difficulties of our suppliers or our customers. If a company is struggling financially, we should not take advantage of them, but deal with them with a heart full of compassion.

Don’t Love the Things Of The World. John writes, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:12).

As marketers, we need to consider the role we play in developing and preparing products for the market. Are we making products that meet people’s needs or are we developing products that influence customers to store up treasures on earth rather than in heaven?

Develop A Ministry. Paul wrote to Archippus, “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord” (Col. 4:17). Jesus commanded the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).

Jesus granted no special exemption to marketers. The Great Commission applies to all of us.

Therefore, we should make our work our ministry. As business people, we have the opportunity to do the work that the Father gave us every day as we provide a living testimony of our faith.

Ask for Wisdom. There are many areas of business in which it is difficult to know how to apply a Biblical principle.

In these cases, we need to ask for God’s wisdom. James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). The verse does not say you will get wisdom sometimes or occasionally, but that God will give it generously to all who ask. What a comfort it is to know that even if we have gotten ourselves into trouble, we can ask God for wisdom in dealing with this and every other situation.

Have a “Right Heart.” James writes, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). While the world may suggest that you should always look out for number one, the Bible provides many exhortations against being selfish, lovers of self, or double-minded.

As marketers, we must avoid worldly values and focus on being selfless, lovers of all people, and doers of the word.

One Final Thought

Christian marketers have a responsibility that goes far beyond man’s law and the rules of professional associations. It is incumbent upon us to always be a light to the world. We must consider everything we do and the impact that action has on all the people around us. It is an immense responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.

But there is satisfaction knowing that we run our business being responsible to God for our results and it is this thought that should guide us through every day.

Bonus Whitepaper

If you would like a broader discussion on this topic, download the free 5-page whitepaper, The Temple Moneychangers–A Biblical Guide to MarketingIt includes a bonus discussion of seven important areas in which biblical principals can be applied to our marketing.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you encountered deceptive or unbiblical marketing? How did it make you feel as a professional? As a consumer?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Skills | Quality/Excellence