Strikes and layoffs are never planned. No one is exempt. The recent pandemic showed us how fast life can change. I live in the hills of Los Angeles, and our home was in jeopardy a few years ago when what was then the largest fire in LA history, the LaTuna Canyon fire, came up out of nowhere and raged one block from my home. Uncertainty due to disasters, health issues, and constant disruptions seem to have become everyday occurrences. The recent devastation in Maui, HI, is one recent unimaginable tragedy. As leaders, we constantly hold our breath, wondering what will be next. Disruptions force us, though, to pause and reflect on how to lead and help others find God’s peace and restoration when chaos happens.
As we begin to reflect on what we are most thankful for this month, let’s look at those disruptive occurrences and look for the opportunities in them. Here are three leadership qualities I’ve found to be helpful to bring light and hope.
First, leaders need to be ready, and being ready means spiritually prepared.
Matthew 6:19-MA 20 tells us not to store up earthly treasures. So don’t pile up the unneeded. This scripture speaks of physical things that can be eaten by moths or stolen, but what about fear, stress, and depressive thoughts? They can steal more from you than physical things. Remember to store up heavenly treasures. Eternal wealth and security start with a prepared soul and a relationship that is fortified with prayer and God’s Word. So hide it in your heart where it can’t be stolen.
The eight-year study by the Center for Bible Engagement statistically provides the positive results that come from engaging in the Bible four or more times weekly. It’s eye-opening. People notice. They see a life lived fully trusting in God.
- * Drinking and drug usage in excess declined by -62%
- * Viewing pornography and sex outside marriage declined by -59%
- * Gambling declined by -45%
- * Lashing out in anger declined by -31%
- * Gossiping and lying declined by 28%
- * Neglecting one’s family declined by -26%
- * Overeating or mishandling food -20%
The study went on to prove that Bible engagement also produced more peace and joy in a person’s life by reducing the frequency of various emotional struggles.
Yes, we can store food, water, flashlights, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and even masks in a crisis, but ultimately the best preparation comes down to our mind and heart. Biblical knowledge affects our perseverance – our grit! It allows us to go past the overwhelming emotional and physical hurdles caused when disruptions happen.
Secondly, leaders do the obvious and practical.
Leaders roll up their sleeves to “get ‘er done.” We don’t just care for our needs, but we see how we can assist others caught off guard by the catastrophe. I watched how many churches and ministries stepped up during the pandemic. They donated not only supplies but their time and, in some cases, their lives as the surges of the pandemic raged on. So many during the pandemic just wanted a hug, and many stepped up.
The most valuable gift we can have is a caring attitude. It speaks loudly of who we are as believers and of God’s promises found in His Word. It brings needed hope and encouragement for the long haul of recovery as we become the face of God on earth. Our words of love, or hug, or a shoulder to cry on, and a warm cup of tea or coffee are simple but powerful ways we show others who Jesus is and “the hope that lies within us.” I Peter 3:15
What is “overflowing” out of your mouth when uncertainties happen? It reflects your heart. -“…the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6: 45.). Do you lash out with blame at your boss, union leaders, government officials, or even God? Remember, this isn’t the perfect world God created, and we’re subject to earthly humans and perils. When you’re unexpectedly fired, thrown financially for a loop, or the C-word hits, what’s your knee-jerk reaction? In Luke 6:45 (NIV), the Bible says that “the good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” A good leader will find the grace to speak from the good things within the heart.
Finally, leaders don’t allow their joy to be stolen.
Take a lesson from the early first-century Christian church. They banded together in one accord and built each other up by acknowledging their humanity and vulnerability. They stood on the knowledge of God’s truth demonstrated by their leaders, Paul, Peter, Barnabus, and others. They didn’t allow their circumstances to steal their joy.
Remember, some of their leaders had physically witnessed the miracles of Jesus, walked, and been discipled by Him. Yet they still succumbed to fear and short-sightedness. I think Jesus might have been laughing at them when He said, “Oh, you of little faith! Why do you doubt?” Matthew 14:31. He wanted them to see beyond the uncertain momentary moments and walk in the joy of how God was going to turn it around. Esther, Ruth, Daniel, David, and so many more witnessed how God turned it around. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.
God sometimes allows disasters to kick us out of our nests and get our attention. A crisis doesn’t have to defeat us if we maintain the right perspective and see the opportunities that God will do in spite of suffering. Joseph was able to do this when he triumphantly said to his brothers, who’d caused a complete disruption in his life, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) What joy it must have been for him to be able to provide for his family and save the remnant of God’s people from starvation.
“Be thankful in all circumstances!” I Thessalonians 5:18. He wills it! Store up your riches – joy. It can’t be stolen unless you let it. God promises joy in disruption. turn
It’s your secret weapon. It’s your power source. It’s your strength! (Nehemiah 8”10).