God worked on me a little this week – with some new clarity that I thought I would share.
But to appreciate it, here are two quick unrelated pieces of background:
My previous spiritual walk – serving as a Head
Until recently, I looked at a period of my life around 5 years ago as being the time when I thought I was most in the center of God’s Will. I was passionate about an annual event called “The Walk to Emmaus” which is an ecumenical three-day retreat where denominations, age and vocation were all stripped away (along with mobile phones, televisions and radio). The result was a weekend of guys getting real with God and each other. I had been able to participate and later serve in about one per year, and was preparing to lead one. Alongside that and within my local church, I was the Chairman of our Deacon ministry, had an active accountability partner and a thriving friendship with one of the staff, and in general – was on the top of my game. God was really stretching my Spiritual Gifts of Leadership, Administration and Discernment. In turn, I was fervently reading Christian Leadership writers like John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, etc.
I thought I was “in the zone”. And then, the pastor resigned under very negative circumstances, the church started breaking up and was never the same, my best friends and I went in different directions and I became spiritually burnt out. My Christian reading and my quiet times cooled and my passion became quiet. And for a while, I was angry and disillusioned. Later, I started to realize but was disappointed that I was no longer being asked to provide leadership in my Christian circles. I had revelation that because I had unplugged from my Heavenly source, any direction or leadership that I offered would be of my will – not His. And so, I struggled to find peace in the fact that I would not be “leading” again, until I started truly being “led” by the Spirit in my own daily life. But I just couldn’t seem to get the motor started again.
My current vocation – having recently hired some Hands
In my work life, I very recently hired someone who is specifically intended to amplify my output — meaning that I am responsible for creating a large amount of materials, and literally needed more hands on typing. The way that my company looks at the relationship between my new teammate and I — I own the plan of what is to be done and he is primarily intended to be my extra hands – in almost a headless kind of way. Now, of course, he brings his own experiences and ideas to the table, and I anticipate that my plan will adapt as we work together, based on his experiences and capabilities, alongside what my committed goals are to our larger team.
But on paper, he might be thought of as “hands without a head”, while I might be considered “a head without enough hands”.
Putting it together
Of course, as I write the words here, the clarity of what I have already started seeing is hopefully apparent to you, as well. We are all “hands without a head” to Christ. And while He can do anything that He wants, He chooses to do those things that are uniquely capable by Him in the work of our minds and hearts, and often chooses to delegate those things that need hands to us.
Lately, I have found a great deal of satisfaction in working the AV (lights/sound) within my local church, usually in the children’s ministry of all places – or within a dark and locked room clicking slides for the main adult worship. I am never on stage, and I doubt that many folks know who I am or what I do – other than the fact that the band seems to know the words to all of the songs, or seeing that the kids enjoy church and there seems to magically be lots of music and videos and fun things going in the room. Until recently, while I had been surprised to find myself enjoying and being completely satisfied in this nearly anonymous role, parts of my mind believed that if I just reinvigorated my quiet times and could somehow reawaken my passion for Christ, that I would be plugged back in and God would start flexing my leadership muscles again.
But in retrospect, I had it wrong.
Certainly, in my workplace, I firmly hold that the only kind of leader that I want to be is that of a Servant Leader, so I hope that my new employee will come to view me as genuinely interested in lifting him up and equipping him for his personal success as well as our joint endeavor. And of course, our teamwork will result not strictly by my will, but instead from the combination of his experiences plus my plans – which is not that different from the course that God has for me, based on my experiences and His plans (except that He charted my experiences too). It is what makes me uniquely capable to serve within His larger plan, similar to how my new teammate is uniquely capable to help me in my work role this year.
So as I started helping my new employee ramp this week, God seems to be reminding me that I am still “hands without a head”, regardless of where or how I serve. If He chooses to use my hands on a soundboard during Childrens’ worship or use my hands to craft a leadership direction some time in the future, I am still just “hands”. I was never – even when leveraging spiritual gifts like “leadership” or “discernment” – a "head", only His hands.