Monthly Archives: December 2014

Joseph Review

Patrick Lencioni, business consultant for more than two decades and author of 10 books, speaks to how organizational health is the determining factor in any effective work or ministry.  (see The Advantage).  How can a leader nurture such a healthy context?  We have considered Joseph as a biblical model of a person with impeccable stewardship and as an empowering organizer (Genesis 37-52).  For those he served (Potiphar’s household, the royal jail, and the nation of Egypt) he did so with great effectiveness.  Now, in light of Joseph’s outstanding example, let’s consider what we can and should do so that our organizational culture will thrive.

  1.  Every leader will have some sense of vision (whether personally discerned or organizationally provided) for which he or she must provide leadership. That vision of a better future may only be understood in embryonic form initially.  Joseph was entrusted with two dreams that he did not understand for over a decade.  An essential component of an empowering organizer is to keep the vision before oneself so it can be kept before those being served.
  2. Every calling and mission will be opposed. Never forget that we have an Enemy who seeks to devour.  Joseph had family jealousy, sexual temptation, physical hardship, isolation, being forgotten, and enormous challenges we can only imagine by reading between lines.  An empowering organizer has learned how to handle opposition.  The better one can maintain the perspective that challenges are really developmental opportunities, and the quicker one can realign forward progress with new realities, the more healthy will be the leader and the people.
  3. Every environment will either be safe or unsafe. A safe environment allows for disagreement as well as failure.  It is nothing short of amazing how a Hebrew young man could be appointed as Prime Minister of Egypt and cultivate an organizational culture where people would grow to so trust him that they willingly submitted to his leadership—to the point of becoming bond-slaves.
  4. Every outcome will rise or fall on recognizing inter-connected parts and setting a course of execution. Empowering organizers look beyond the superficial solutions to see what systemic issues contribute to a given challenge.  Joseph masterfully provided leadership into several levels of society—finances, agriculture, city structure, food delivery, tax and compensation.  Empowering the right people with resources and authority to fulfill responsibility will result in getting things done well.

Along with Joseph we can also gain insight into a healthy and effective organizational development by studying how Moses built the Tabernacle, Solomon built the Temple, and Nehemiah/Ezra restored YHWH worship in Jerusalem.  Leaders will always have flaws but great and godly leaders will value healthy environments where people are blessed while serving God’s purpose.  It is a sacred trust to lead people.

How empowering is your leadership within your portion of the organization?  On a scale of 1-10, how healthy would the people you serve say the environment is over which you provide leadership?  Do people willingly follow you?  What else will it take for those you lead to thrive?

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Joseph Exemplified Impeccable Stewardship

An organizational leader is a steward. He or she has been entrusted with resources and a responsibility that will influence others either for good or harm.  This is also true for mothers, fathers, teachers, and many other life roles.  How one views stewardship of life and contribution will determine everything!

The wisest man who ever lived noted the analogy between ants and people (Proverbs 6:6-11). The principle that emerges is that, daily decisions determine destiny.  Stewardship is about daily decisions—conscious or subconscious.  Why is stewardship such a vital concept to understand and practice well?  Joseph shows us why!

Joseph was entrusted with and became a steward of his dreams (Genesis 37). He was given his sense of destiny as a teenager.  This was much bigger and more impactful than anything he could have dreamed on his own.  The path to see his God-given dreams fulfilled included what appears to be a diversion (see Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God, for the insightful principle: When God tells me what He wants to do through me, I will face a crisis of belief).  However, stewardship, when believed and pursued, will keep a leader heading on a course regardless of temporary diversions or setbacks.

Joseph lived out his stewardship impeccably as Potiphar’s’ chief of staff, as the Jailor’s assistant and as Pharaoh’s governor. Consequently, the Lord blessed Potiphar’s household and his fields (39:1-6).  The Lord blessed the Jailor by relieving him of all oversight of prisoners (9:19-23).  The Lord blessed Pharaoh and the Egyptians with life (47:20-26).  And ultimately, Joseph’s dreams came true by providing the needed sustenance for his family.  Stewardship lived well provides great good.

How should we view our stewardship? There seems to be two arenas for stewardship—personal and organizational.  The personal side includes the understanding and living out of our design—gifts, personality, experiences; along with our desires—passion, talents, dreams.  The organizational side includes the understanding and living out our responsibility—duty, order, accountability; along with our opportunity—delight, creativity, blessing.

Key concepts of stewardship include: faithful, increase, blessing, accountable, entrust, trustworthy, responsible, resources, results, measurement, reward. Everyone appreciates a leader who is characterized by these qualities.

What are the implications of impeccable stewardship? Take our job seriously since we are doing it for God and not people.  Do our best!  Bring our entire design to our job because God has uniquely made us to be master workmen.  Use all He gave us!

The starting point, as with all change, is to get clear within ourselves. We need to be sure that we are personally choosing stewardship and not acting out of obligation or a desire to please…  If there is no transformation inside each of us, all the structural change in the world will have no impact on our institutions. (Block, Stewardship, Pages 75, 77)

How could you enhance your stewardship in some area of life by focusing on serving the Lord and bringing all you are? What is hindering impeccable stewardship with your life?  What steps should you take to better align your life and role with whom God has entrusted to you and designed you to be?

 

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