EmPulse for Week of February 1, 2010
Use things…, love people. Of course we all subscribe to this dictum. But when push comes to shove, when budgets are crunched and tensions are high, management tends to flip the using and loving (if there ever was any loving). Fortunately, your everyday guy would never use people…, right?!? Husbands always love their wives: wives always love their husbands. James Redfield’s CELESTINE PROPHESY (1993) aside, perish the thought that anyone in this postmodern world would use another person.
We live in a society where using people and loving things seems to be the modus operandi. Accomplish the TASK, even if you exhaust people to the point of exasperation; they can be replaced. In the same way that computers become sluggish and obsolete, wives are replaced by younger, fresher models, and matured, wizened leaders are supplanted by younger cheaper versions, so the pattern of using people follows the archetype of using, and abusing, things. People have become as expendable as last month’s mobile phone model.
These practices, found in business, in our courts, our banks, and even in our charitable institutions (where only 60% on the dollar actually goes to fulfilling their mission), have decimated the spirits of the North American worker, the fathers & mothers of families, and the leaders of our churches. I expect usury & abuse in business, banking, & governments, but it is not acceptable among those who claim the name of Jesus. Nonetheless, the church is as guilty of loving things and using people as is the rest of our society. Elders grow disillusioned by the ends of their terms, feeling they have affected little; Sunday school teachers burn out because there is no one to fill their shoes; and pastors (or priests) lose heart, switching to auto-pilot; they become firemen, constantly putting out fires, rather than lighting them in people’s hearts.
Should this practice continue, we will, like the preceding three generations, be left with beautiful buildings, well-run programs, and people who have lost heart for serving, any energy to care, and maybe their very faith.
The correction to this predicament is simple—use THINGS…, LOVE PEOPLE. There is nothing you are doing that is worth the life of someone in your care. That is theirs to give, not yours to take. GIVE your life, nourish theirs. In a word—
FEED YOUR LEADERS
Give them something to live for. Make them feel essential to the tasks to which they give themselves. Compliment them on a job well done; offer new ideas on how to be more creative (or, maybe you could learn from them). Listen to them in family conversations. Or, simply, take them out to lunch, for beer, or just drop by their office with some truly great coffee. Learn to love people, genuinely love them, and they will follow you to the ends of the earth. But don’t let them. Guide them to teach others to use things…, and to love people.
Have a nice week.
[Please note: We get to love a brand new person as of last Saturday night. Our daughter Bethany and son-in-law Jeffery gave us James Robert Costigan at 9:15 p.m.]