13 November, Wednesday – In search of wisdom

13 November

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Wisdom 6:1-11

Listen, kings, and understand;
rulers of remotest lands, take warning;
hear this, you who have thousands under your rule,
who boast of your hordes of subjects.
For power is a gift to you from the Lord,
sovereignty is from the Most High;
he himself will probe your acts and scrutinise your intentions.

If, as administrators of his kingdom, you have not governed justly
nor observed the law,
nor behaved as God would have you behave,
he will fall on you swiftly and terribly.
Ruthless judgement is reserved for the high and mighty;
the lowly will be compassionately pardoned,
the mighty will be mightily punished.
For the Lord of All does not cower before a personage,
he does not stand in awe of greatness,
since he himself has made small and great
and provides for all alike;
but strict scrutiny awaits those in power.

Yes, despots, my words are for you,
that you may learn what wisdom is and not transgress;
for they who observe holy things holily will be adjudged holy,
and, accepting instruction from them, will find their defence in them.
Look forward, therefore, to my words;
yearn for them, and they will instruct you.

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Luke 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’

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…yearn for them, and they will instruct you.

I had the privilege of sharing 5 days with 26 other extremely smart, gifted and kind people from 11 other countries this week at a leadership development programme. Right from day one when I entered the room, I sensed that this was going to be a special few days from the positive energy and the initial ‘check ins’ when we were asked to share a bit about ourselves.

As we progressed through the days, we bonded on various levels, especially when we shared our personal challenges at work as leaders who were caught in the middle – between senior management (the C-suite) and our own teams. It was interesting that in spite of our various cultural and situational differences, the challenges we faced were remarkably similar. The clincher came on day four when we were each assigned a coach/mentor for a more than 3 hour one-on-one session. What a time of sharing and input it was for me (from a career/work perspective) as she combined learnings from her years of experience with empathy, advice and some spirituality (we discovered we both serve in Catholic organisations and had some common interests). Truly, it helped spark so many ideas and thoughts for me to bring back to work in order to make me a more effective leader.

What hit home for me was the realization (I had already suspected it) that I could not be using the same strategies from way back when I had a team of 3 to 6 staff in the current environment (I now have 13). The ways of motivating each group/individual would have to be different and I would have to tailor my approaches rather than expect each one to ‘toe the line’. And while there was a need for some structure and discipline, I could not crack the whip all the time and expect the best. I would have to listen a lot more and be more approachable (I had a very low ‘need’ score for ‘connection’ in my self-analysis). This programme was timely for me as I had been struggling for answers the past few weeks and I guess they all came flooding in over the course of the five days, especially interacting with so many like-minded professionals.

Brothers and sisters, when we hit an impasse or come to a crossroad in our lives, what do we do in order to reset, reframe and rejuvenate? Do we avoid the situation at hand and look for a new environment (something which I came to realise in the context of my almost 10 years in this current job)? Or do we consult others and seek input from those who have been around the block, even our bosses? As we yearn for instruction, do we really open ourselves up to receive? Or do we put up defences and say, “Oh, this is not me”, “This does not apply to me” or “You don’t know my situation so you are in no position to comment”?

I left the training venue filled with thoughts and edified that people all round the world actually have much more in common than we think. Perhaps we need to look within ourselves and explore what we have in common with those who are suffering, those who languish in poverty, those who are oppressed, or those who feel they have no hope. More importantly, I left feeling hopeful that equipped with new tools, I can become an effective agent of change in my workplace…and even in my ministry.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer:  Father, you shower us with your love and constantly speak to us your words of wisdom. Give us the grace to be able to seek you out in our daily challenges and listen to your voice. Fill us with the Spirit so that we can be better versions of who we are in our workplaces, in our communities, at home with our families.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Holy Spirit, for being our guiding light and His voice in our lives.

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