So, How’s That Working For You?

I've witnessed ministries and nations crumble under self-entitled delusions and deceptions. I have also seen them crumble under excessive people-pleasing. Is there a solution?

Please forgive the vocabulary and slang used in today’s thoughts. I found I couldn’t express my point in my usual devotional style.

To understand where I am coming from, I suggest you read the chapters in 1 Kings right after the death of Solomon, starting in chapter twelve. “The Fall And Division Of The Nation Of Israel.” I have read this story several times over the years. However, the more I read it, the more a singular thought came to my mind.

DUH!! People are so stupid.

Rehoboam, let me get this straight. You’re saying that your good old boy’s network made up of your high school buddies knows more about boring stuff like running a kingdom than all the trusted advisors of one the greatest empire of all time? The people are complaining about unfair work practices, and you decide the best way to deal with employee dissatisfaction is to make them work harder and take away more of their rights. You do so to ensure you can continue to live in the lap of luxury? You must have missed the “Let my people go” story that your teachers probably tried to drill into your skull because you were too busy making spitballs in class. How did that decision work for you? I bet you didn’t have many employees signing up for a new contract.

How does that work for any leader? Not well.

By one stupid, arrogant, self-serving decision, you destroyed all that your father and grandfather carefully architected.

Jeroboam, you aren’t exactly on the “The Top Ten Up and Coming Kings List” of your time. You want your people to love you and hail you as king. As a result, you build two golden calves; then you cleverly invent a holiday so your people can worship those idols at home rather than travel to the one place where they can meet the true God. Furthermore, you are only doing so because you are afraid that when they get close to the place the one true God dwells, they might come to their senses and return to him.

I guess you didn’t learn from the fallout from the sin of your ancestor, Aaron. Remember what happened when he built a golden calf to keep the people happy-happy while Moses was up the mountain talking to God? And how did your decision to be the ultimate people-pleasing, rock-star King work out for you in the long run?

And yet, I have no right to say, “Boy, those Israelites were so stupid back then; good thing we aren’t that dumb now.” On the contrary, I’ve personally witnessed leaders crumble under the same delusions and deceptions. If the truth be told, I’ve seen strands of the same behaviour in me.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”
Psalm 51:10

As you read this, you might think, how does this pertain to me? I’m not a leader of a country or a significant ministry. Don’t let yourself off the hook. I am talking to parents, Sunday School teachers, fast-food joint shift managers, pastors, business leaders, politicians, and even the kid assigned to lead a simple classroom project. I am speaking to anyone given the responsibility for the well-being of others. I am talking to myself.

As leaders, we must keep our hearts pure by remaining accountable to those over us, and if we are in a, ‘the buck stops here’ position. We must create a circle of trusted, level-headed advisors with no vested interest in our success beyond calling out the best in us. They aren’t on our payroll; they won’t lose anything if they challenge us. We must stay teachable, honest and humble, yes! But we must not allow the fear of man and fear of man’s reprisal to stop us from making tough choices when tough choices must be made.

Unless otherwise attributed, all Bible verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Until Next Week

©2023 Katherine Walden

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