March 1, 2006
I've been in some form of leadership for almost forty years. After completing studies at the University of Toronto in the mid 1960s, I began with Youth for Christ in Montreal, and the business of leading hasn't stopped since then. I wish I had been smarter sooner. I've made some mistakes along the way.
Oh, I've done a few things right. But nothing seems to get me down more than making a wrong hire. Especially when you have no one to thank but yourself.
Mark Twain got it right. When your job is herding cattle, and it is up to you to hire wranglers, make sure you hire someone who has been pulled along, holding onto the tail of a beast of the field.
There is something about experience that becomes an important litmus test.
As a leader, I'm always looking for people to lead. I confess, I'm an optimist: "Oh, you want to do it, and yes, I see you've got arms... yes, you will do." I'm too easily taken in by one who wants to do the job. Passion sells me every time—but sometimes it doesn't work out.
I've come to learn that it's better for everyone involved to hire one who has wrestled cattle to the ground than to hire a wanna-be ranger that's only sat on the sidelines watching.
I love the relationship Moses had with young Joshua. Before the younger took over managing the Hebrews in their wanderings, Moses had him go through his paces (Exodus 24:13).
Loving Friend, Holy Presence, help me live within the tension of being optimistic about those willing to serve and yet diligent to carefully raise up leaders who want to learn and are willing to be mentored. May the example of Moses compel me to encourage new leadership while at the same time making a conscious effort to equip them. So that in the end, our enterprises will take on the "Jordans" of life, leading people into the land promised. Amen.
"A person who has had a bull by the tail once has learned sixty or seventy times as much as a person who hasn't."