What I’m Reading Today: Colossians 3:1-17
If you were to watch my leadership style from afar for the purposes of evaluating it, you would probably come back after a while and say, “Craig, you are a complete contradiction. On one hand,” you might begin, “you run around encouraging individuals to do what they feel called to do (translation –passionate about!), and on the other hand get frustrated when individuals act like Lone Rangers in ways that are totally oblivious to the community. Which way is it?” you might ask.
I would then drive you crazy by answering, “Both.”
“But how can it be both?! How can individuals have permission to pursue their passions/calls AND be connected to the larger community?”
The author of Colossians gives us great insight into how to do this when the author wrote these words. “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with one another. None of this going off and doing your own thing.”
So how does that work?
Ultimately it’s a matter of what drives an individual’s passion/call that makes them act either like a Lone Ranger or someone living in the peace of Christ. If the sense of passion/call is driven only by the individual’s personal preferences, then chances are the person will act like a Lone Ranger. If the sense of passion/call is driven by a desire to express his/her passion/call in a way that is meaningful to others as well as oneself, chances are the person will act in ways that keep them in step with one another.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say a person loves to cook and wants to bring something special for the office potluck.
On the surface that sounds good.
Let’s say, however, that they have only one dish in mind that they want to make for the potluck. The dish is exotic, smells unusual, is exclusively meat-based, and takes hours to prepare and MUST be made fresh in order to be properly appreciated.
In the process of making that dish for the potluck the smell disturbs the individuals whose cubicles are close to the kitchen; the meat-based nature of the dish excludes all the vegans/vegetarians; and the time required to make the dish takes the individual away from his/her desk and forces the individual’s co-workers to pick up the extra work.
What started as a loving gesture meant to bring the group together degenerated into a divisive experience because of the self-centered way it was approached.
Now imagine the same scenario with only one slight change. Imagine that the individual who loves to cook sat down and asked her/himself a few questions first. “What can I bring that won’t unduly distract others while I’m preparing it, can be eaten by meat-eaters and vegetarians, and is relatively easy to prepare?”
By thinking those simple questions through, the individual can pursue her/his passion/call AND maintain the peace of Christ within the community.
As you go forth into a busy today, I would invite you to look for opportunities to pursue your passion/call in such a way that its expression doesn’t come across as self-centered but peace and unity-generating!
Til next time…