Today I read Job 35-36, 1 Corinthians 7-8, and Integrity chapter 1. One of the things that has been on my mind lately is how to maneuver in an organization where there is so much going on that many of the great innovations in the church are missed. I wrestle with how to address the issue and talk through how we could get better at this as a church, especially from the point of view of someone who is lower in the leadership hierarchy. So today I read in Job about a well intentioned friend who takes to scolding his friend in the name of protecting God. Many of the things he said about God would be seen as true and even good theology, yet they missed the mark in this situation because the friend couldn’t possibly have known all the things that happened behind the scenes like God allowing Satan to do what he did to a righteous man. It is a dangerous thing to speak for God and try to defend him as if we really know all that was going on in his head at the time something happened. Yet we do that sort of thing all the time. One of the lessons I learned this morning was that there are some things that need to be left unsaid even if you think you have every angle covered. Sometimes it is good to say nothing or keep your thoughts to yourself for the sake of the person you are ministering to.

There is also the issue of freedom underlying all of this. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians talks about our freedom to marry or not marry and the advantages and disadvantages of each. While I thought it was kind of funny to hear Paul talk about marriage as a single guy and down play it a bit, he did make it clear where he was speaking from his own opinion or wisdom as opposed to speaking the very word of God in everything he said. It is important for me to remember the same thing when I am talking to others. I need to make sure that I am ok with being wrong or even having my ideas rejected knowing that the ultimate outcome of all of these things is in God’s hands. Also, it is important to have a huge awareness of others so that I don’t push my freedom on those who may not see it or experience it like I do. As Paul says about the food sacrificed to idols, if anything causes another Christian the potential of stumbling then I will steer clear of those things. Far too often we try to make a point to other people and push our freedom on them as if they are somehow judging us if they don’t quite agree or can’t partake in whatever it is because they know they will stumble. That is an abuse of freedom and is a selfish way of viewing it. I want to make sure I am aware enough that everything I do points people to the Lord instead of towards temptation.

Finally, Cloud talks about integrity as that intangible thing that some people have that causes them to live up to their full potential. I am fascinated by that because I have known people who don’t seem to have integrity and yet still lived up to their potential at least as far as success was concerned. I look forward to exploring this more as I read the book.

When it comes to this issue at work I know I need to pray about it and think through the best way to get the word out and figure out ways to get innovations on the radar. I know I need to know when to speak and when to keep silent. I also know that I can’t push this agenda or try to prove some kind of point. Rather I need to understand the situation and the people involved and look for the way they might hear it best while keeping my own emotions and potential cynicism out of it. I am confident that it will all work out because I serve with such an awesome group of people!

Lord, help me to be a man of integrity who leads from a place of authenticity and awareness of others. Please help me not to ever push my own agenda or freedom to the place where I cause others to stumble in anyway. Don’t allow me to get cynical when things are going slowly or not going the way I think they should. Help me to be the man you want me to be Lord and use me in whatever way you want. Amen.
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