“They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’”
In yesterday’s devotion, I highlighted how Jesus chose to come near to two hurting disciples, leaving them with hearts on fire with hope and life. Imagine the impact we as leaders can have when we walk with others in their pain. Leaders who are sensitive to others can bring hope — and sometimes literally save a life.
Consider this true story told by Rich Sanders about a technology manager named Steve. Steve resolved to visit each of his employees, all six of whom he had not seen face to face in over six months even though they worked in the same building and on the same floor. Steve wanted to tell each of them how much he appreciated them, and name one thing they did excellently.
After the visit from Steve, one of his software engineers, Lenny, presented him with an Xbox gaming console. Steve was taken aback, as he knew Lenny had taken pay cuts over the last year. But he was more surprised to learn that the money had come from the sale of a nine-millimeter pistol — a pistol Lenny had bought months earlier with the intention of killing himself. Lenny told him of his mother’s death the previous year, and of his ensuing loneliness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
“Last week, you freaked me out. You came into my cubicle, put your arm around me, and told me you appreciated me because I turn in all my projects early, and that helps you sleep at night. You also said that I have a great sense of humor over e-mail and that you are glad I came into your life.”
“That night I went home… and when I got the gun out, it scared me silly for the first time. All I could think about was what you said — that you were glad I came into your life. The next day I went back to the pawnshop and sold the gun. I remembered that you had said you wanted the Xbox more than anything, but with a new baby at home could not afford it. So, for my life, you get this game. Thanks, boss.”
In whatever context we lead, we should realize that even amidst good earnings reports and positive customer reviews, we are in the presence of staff, volunteers and customers who are experiencing pain and loss and are in need of hope. As leaders might we consider the power of hope that resides within us because of Christ? If we take the time to connect with others, we have the opportunity to reveal the resurrection hope that lives in us through Christ.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Would it be strange to tell someone you work with that you’re glad they came into your life? How would the culture of your organization change if you spent time affirming the work of others?
Are you aware of the hope that resides within you as you interact with others day-to-day?
Do the people you lead see you regularly enough to feel cared for?
Father, what an amazing hope you have given us because of the resurrected Christ! I pray that the same Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the grave would fill me so that others I encounter might find hope. Forgive me for not being an accessible leader at times and help me to make time to simply connect with others so that your life might be revealed through me. Amen.
Preaching Today, “Boss’s Act of Kindness Prevents a Suicide”