There is a saying in the business world that you might catch on sites like LinkedIn, etc.:
“The biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet.” – Tim McClure
For example, articles like this one: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-passion-becomes-quiet-sean-kelsey-1f
Will tell us that:
- Breach of trust: leadership integrity is paramount to maintaining relationships and keeping people focused and energized. Not living the company values inevitably leads to distrust.
- Lack of leadership consistency: fairness, consistently applied, leads to a growing confidence amongst the staff complement. Employees feel insecure when there is favoritism, nepotism or irregular behavior on the part of leadership.
- Being overlooked: not being listened to, being ignored or contribution not being recognized all lead to apathy. Energy gets sucked out of the system and people lose heart.
- Dishonesty: leadership untruths breed distrust. Employees easily perceive dishonesty and hate any attempts at being conned.
- Insufficient information and communication: where managers withhold pertinent pieces of information for power purposes or fail to communicate adequately with employees, staff feel neglected and worthless.
- Leadership selfishness: big leadership bonuses with small pay increases for employees, benefits and values being ‘customized’ to suit leadership desires, etc.
- Lack of vision: when leadership operates out of a vague sense of direction with little or no communication of an expected future state.
I’m not going to agree with Mr. McClue’s conclusion for the “biggest concern for any organization” because in the history of the world of business — many organizations have been insanely profitable on the broken backs of quiet people who were there not out of passion but out of necessity. It sounds great as a sound bite, and could even be helpful to leadership understanding the consequences of their leadership style and the culture it breeds. And it could be helpful to recognize when a once passionate and engaged team member has become disengaged. But even G.I. Joe will tell you that “knowing is half the battle” — it’s the other half that still has to be won, though.
So what can we as Christians say to such things?
When we find that the fallible humans in leadership roles around us have:
– Broken our trust by not living the espoused values
– Been inconsistent, unfair, and shown favoritism and irregular behavior
– Outright ignored/snubbed, or not listened to, or not recognized subordinates fairly for our contribution
– Been dishonest, deceitful, and manipulative
– Not communicated sufficient information or guidance/direction
What guidance does the Word of God have for us when we find ourselves in such a place?
Is our passion and purpose meant to die on the vine in such circumstances with an excuse like:
Where there is no vision, the people perish:
Proverbs 29:18a KJV
when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2b ESV
No! Of course not! Because we do not find our hope in men. We do not even work for men. I love how straightforward the paraphrase version of this is from Colossians:
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
Colossians 3:22-25 MSG
And we are called to patiently endure evil:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil. 2 Timothy 2:24 ESV
And we are to respect those in authority over us:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Roman’s 13:1-7
Will this always be easy when we are faced with the consequences of bad leaders around us?
No, of course not! But the experience of enduring will produce character in us. Problems and trials help develop endurance. Endurance develops strength of character. And character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Don’t just take MY word for it — see what The Word says in Romans:
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:3-8 NLT
Yes, He died for us while we were still sinners. He suffered unjustly with no cause. Are we so prideful that we think, “I deserve to be treated better than this!” Or that we would look at another fallible man in authority over us and somehow self justify resisting their authority because of their shortcomings — even while we refuse to pray for them:
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior,
1 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:44-48 NLT
Or are we like Jonah who didn’t want God to save the people of Ninevah but he would have rather seen them destroyed?
Oh, Lord, grant us repentance and teach us to truly pray for those in authority over us and those who persecute us and treat us unfairly. It is only by the power of your Holy Spirit that we can accomplish such amazing things that are contrary to our nature. Instead of allowing us to foolishly make war with enemies greater than ourselves — Lord, go before us and prepare the way for victory without us even having to fight. Let us pray and praise your Holy name instead. Be both our passion and our purpose. To God be all the glory. Amen!