By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When trying to care and serve the needs of others above ourselves, we have to be honest about the difficulties we may face. It will not always be a pleasant experience when we make ourselves vulnerable by caring for another. Each person we interact with will not always have the purest intensions at heart. We may open ourselves up to be taken advantage of; or the reaction we receive is not what we were expecting. In a world where many take kindness as a sign of weakness; how many of us tend to think the worst about someone before we consider the best? Some may understand this to be a survival technique learned through personal trials; while others may have seen the way kindness was exploited in other people’s lives and decided it was not for them.
Galatians 6:9 (ESV): And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
We are called to be set apart from the world; we are expected to do and react in a way the world would mock and laugh at. We should not be discouraged by our mission; but we should wear it as a symbol of pride. It is easy to give up, but it is much harder to get up. Those who feel life has changed them in such a way that they have lost the joy of giving are people we should be concerned about; not people we should envy.
Matthew 13:30 (NIV): Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"
Our service to the world is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and until He returns. Our preference should be to work the fields of the Lord so that the wheat can grow; knowing that some weeds will grow as well. The other choice would be for us to allow the fields of the Lord to go unattended so that we do not have to encounter any weeds; knowing the wheat will go unattended as well. The reality is leaving the field unattended will create an environment for more weeds, not fewer. As we have seen in an abandoned home, the yard is full of overgrown weeds. The longer a yard is left unattended, the more weeds that grow through the grass as the grass continues to die. If we want to have a yard without weeds, we need to strengthen our grass so it can withstand the constant attacks. We need to fertilize the grass, cut the grass, and make sure it is getting proper sunlight. The field of the Lord is no different; if we want to limit the weeds, we need to nourish the wheat and provide it the nutrients it needs to grow.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
Offering assistance to someone in need is a great way to express our love for them. Love can be expressed by helping someone move, making someone a lunch, or even helping someone study for an upcoming test or certification. Each task requires an investment of time and resources; but they each have an end date. When the person has moved, lunchtime passed, and the test has been taken; our assistance is no longer needed.
Isaiah 58:11 (ESV): And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
This should make us wonder how much love God has for us to “continually” work to “satisfy our desires”. How many people would we be willing to make a lifetime commit to assist? God goes on to say that He will provide us nourishment (watered garden) in times of suffering (scorched places). There is no issue that God cannot restore us from because there is no drought that God cannot provide us water. God is always going to be by our side and that means He is someone we can consistently believe in. How difficult would it be for us to live in a manner where others can be certain they can believe in us? Though life can be hard enough trying to take care of ourselves, we should always make time to tend to the needs of others (Galatians 6:2).
Luke 6:32-35 (NKJV): “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Jesus Christ was longsuffering and willing to live His life in service to others; many times forsaking his own well-being. This is part of the reason why love never fails; because love is selfless, longsuffering, and enduring (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It is not until we put the needs of another above our own that we can truly say we love them. That is part of the reason we are to even show love and kindness to those who dislike and hate us; because we should be more concerned about others than we are about our own feelings. It is important to remember we know love because God loved us first; meaning the standard is not our own to set, but it was handed down to us from God because God is love (1 John 4:8).
Our natural inclination is to avoid difficult situations; but understand that will be at a detriment to the organization. An effective leader understands they will have to do things they wished they did not; but it is necessary and beneficial to the group’s success. This is not much different than a parent with their child. A parent understands if they comply with all of their children’s wishes, their child may be happy for a time; but at a significant cost. Many children do not like early curfews, but a parent understands the risk of allowing their children to be out at certain times of the night. Or if a child is not interested in going to school, a parent is correct to demand they attend and fully apply themselves when they attend school. Much like a parent with their child, if an effective leader does not hold their team accountable, it will likely hinder them from reaching their full potential.
Deuteronomy 1:16-17 (NIV): Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.”
An effective leader needs to hold everyone (including themselves) accountable to the standard set forth. Besides setting expectations, it is important for the team to know they will each have to pull their weight; no exceptions. While this may be seem as a negative or callous to some, it is actually how we show someone we believe in them and they should believe in us.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (ESV): My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
A leader who believes their team can rise to the occasion will not let them “get by” with anything less than excellence. A leader who believes their team is inferior to the existing standard will accept whatever productivity they provide. We should not confuse that acceptance as love, just like we should not confuse holding people accountable with animosity. Accountability is a delicate balance between encouragement and deterrence an effective leader is expected to navigate carefully. As difficult as it may seem at times, accountability without partially is a sign of love, respect, and fairness.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When weighing the benefits of optimism versus pessimism, it is easy to contend that everyone (leader or not) should strive to be optimistic. While this is true, the leader has the ability to create an environment where optimism is easier for the organization to achieve. Optimism has been proven to enhance the immune system, as well as helping people deal with devastating events. Reason being, optimistic people believe that negative events are temporary, limited in scope, and manageable. An effective leader will remind their team of past success to help them when facing difficult failures.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV): More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Gratitude is also associated with optimism and it has been determined that grateful people are happier and are less likely to suffer from stress and depression. It is difficult to be thankful if we spend the majority of our time focusing on the negative aspects of life. For a leader to create a culture of gratefulness, they should start by showing their appreciation for each member of their team. An effective leader will focus on the positive contributions of the team much more often than they mention their shortcomings. The goal is to have everyone reflecting on the good times; so when the bad times come (and they will come), they are confident in themselves, each other, and the mission.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV): Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
We face the choice between pessimism and optimism every day, multiple times a day, with each interaction. It is ultimately up to us to choose happiness, but the leader can play an essential role in that process. They should exhibit strength, courage, appreciation, and a commitment to the mission and their people. Optimism is contagious and people respond positively to people who they believe have their best interests at heart. Let us encourage each other to new heights; filled with success to build on and failure to learn from.