Project Life #1

We have a member of our tribe working in a secular company.  At one point the Facebook team provided some prayer support for a particular issue and got some unexpected, mixed results.  After pondering, we have decided to broaden our support.

For those coming into the conversation, all of the names are changed.  “Solomon” is an Exhorter manager with a heavy hand and some non-reality (in our opinion).  Somewhere under him is “Nehemiah,” a Ruler who is contesting Solomon’s decisions.

We paused to reconsider after the first short intervention, and asked the question of whether we should walk away from the situation or lean in.

That is the backstory for those of you just coming into the conversation.

* * *

There are two steps to my problem solving process.  First, I need a justification to proceed with warfare on behalf of a company that is broadly not committed to my King.  Second, I need a focus for my involvement.

As I pondered the first concept, three pictures came to mind.  The first was Jacob working for Laban.  It is legitimate for the blessings of God to flow so robustly in a godless context that the non-believers overtly credit the presence of their godly workmate with the blessings.

We have a variation on that theme with Paul, who, though a prisoner, had so much of the life of God about him that God gave him the lives of everyone on the ship, even though their death had been previously decreed by God.

In addition to our mole, there are a surprising sprinkling of children of the King scattered throughout the company – certainly higher than the average for this industry.  So we can invoke the presence of the whole Christian community.

A second picture is Christ going to Capernaum simply because it was the darkest place He could find.  He did it as a matter of principle, because that is what God does – moves toward darkness – rather than it being a place of strategic importance.  In the end, they were not worthy of His presence and miracles, and because they did not respond with appropriate transformation, they got themselves thoroughly cursed by Christ.  But on the front end, Christ and His Noble Subjects should, as a matter of routine mechanics move toward darkness.

While this company and this industry are far from being the darkest place around, they have enough godlessness to merit attention from the Lord of Light.

Third, we have the pictures of Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah and Mordecai who each worked as expats for hideously wicked leaders, bringing their best administrative skill to bear on expanding the hegemony of kingdoms who would never embrace the supremacy of our God.

So that legitimizes our putting some resources into this project.  It certainly should not become our core focus, but we are big enough as a company to diversify.

The second question is a bit more gnarly.  It is the playing field of a son.  One of the marks of sonship is that Christ can go very silent at times.  Notice both the Dominion Mandate in the Garden and the Great Commission.  Both are notable for their lack of detail.  Essentially God said, “Take over the world.”  He gave very little coaching or instructions up front.

Along the way, He dialed things in from time to time, but broadly, He expects His Noble Subjects to work out of their design.  I have listened for the Lord and heard no instructions.  So, I feel I have both the permission and the responsibility to chart the course.

My first step was to look back and see what God did in our first round of prayers.  What I saw was intriguing.  He diminished the titular leadership and raised up the actual leaders.  So Solomon did a number of dumb things that caused people to not respect him or want to follow him.  They HAVE to knuckle under, but knuckling under is a far cry from following a leader.

On the other hand, God raised up Nehemiah who is a natural leader and positioned him in crisis to have a significant group in the company rally around him.

Third is our mole who is henceforth known as Mordecai.  Mordecai was in place, faithfully doing his job, when God gave him an opportunity to contribute something far greater than his official pay scale.  He could have stood by silently and allowed the king to crash and burn under the weight of his own junk, but Mordecai stepped up into leadership and was life giving, just because he could be, not because he had to.  Real leadership.

So we have two real leaders identified at the moment:  Mordecai and Nehemiah.  Mordecai is undercover.  The company does not know that Mordecai is accessing the power of God for the good of the company.  The other is Nehemiah who is overtly in leadership, taking huge personal risks in order to protect and provide for his staff.

I have called this Project Life.  I have a bucket full of half-baked ideas but for the first few days, just ponder what life giving leadership has looked like in your own life.  Who was the very best life giving leader you ever observed, and what made him life giving?

Take that quality, and bless Mordecai and Nehemiah with being able to walk in those qualities.changing-the-values-in-your-workplace-noble-subject-blog

Copyright September 2016, by Arthur Burk

From Innsbruck, on a night when sleep is far


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8 Responses to Project Life #1

  1. katshea says:

    The best leaders I have known:

    Were so spirit to spirit connected to everyone, that their very presence brought people’s spirits out in front of their wounds and neurotic compensations–(SLG language for:) They brought out the best in everyone.

    Were able to inspire the vision for the task, so that it became fun, a privilege, and a community effort. They turned the mundane busywork into joyful participation.

    Were brilliantly able so see the big picture, and thus able to intervene as an artist of problem solving as well as forward moving strategy. Their ideas were endless and highly flexible, and they listened at all levels to those that paid attention.

    Sound familiar, Arthur? ;-))

    So we bless these leaders with that self replicating wisdom of true leadership!

  2. Cynthia says:

    Who was the very best life giving leader you ever observed, and what made him life giving?

    It makes me remember a particular pastor, B.G. Richardson, in the United Methodist church back in the 80’s, who I served as music director. He had the unusual gift of REALLY seeing each individual (and employee) in his church through the eyes of their particular design, rather than through the agenda of his own political needs, etc. Everyone loved him, and did their best around him, which led to a very healthy church at that time.
    It reminds me of your own particular genius for the design of the individuals, Arthur.

  3. Shonna says:

    Here are the beautiful blessings I saw in leaders that I treasured. I’ll bullet point these concepts in honor to those leaders. I translated these concepts into verbal blessings for Mordecai and Nehemiah:
    1. The ability to see what I couldn’t see in my design. This caused them to stretch me to grow in ways that created delight and joy as I developed new skill sets.
    2. Proactive, responsive and timely communication
    3. The best of the best not only had my back, but encouraged me to “go for it” with reassurances that he would take any heat for me that was generated by my implementation of new policies and structures that I agreed to design for him.
    4. Cheerleaders and encouragers according to my design and love languages
    5. Incentives/rewards for choosing challenging growth curves

    Searching my memories to create my verbal blessings was such fun. It brought back memories of people that were a joy to work with/for and opened my eyes to the abundance of God’s leadership in my life in a new way.

  4. This line in particular sticks with me: ” I have listened for the Lord and heard no instructions. So, I feel I have both the permission and the responsibility to chart the course.”
    It is my mother who has engaged with the Spirit so intentionally, and has heard from Him in the waiting, and has warred for the unseen destinies of the people for whom she has fought… who has taught me how valuable this belief is – that His Children KNOW His voice and WILL NOT follow a stranger. It’s an incredible refreshment every time it seems to be deafening not to be hearing from my Dad! This is the peace, surpassing understanding (pairing the call to action, with the knowledge that they are trusted by their King) that I would like to pray for, for these beautiful people.

  5. Nico says:

    This brought tears to my eyes…

    Reflecting on the greatest qualities that leaders have exhibited in my life towards me, has left me with a deep longing to again have the privilege of serving such a leader and also one day be such a leader to my family.

    I have done my prayers to bless Mordecai and Nehemiah…thank you for these powerful tears and wonderful memories

  6. cheri says:

    Just for clarification – Would you like us to release these in to the atmosphere in their direction? or actually write them out to be forwarded to M & N?

  7. I would like to use this prayer request as an opportunity to honor the leader who I thought of for this blessing. She gathered together a motley but talented crew. She nurtured me and also corrected me when I needed it. She took the time to share her passions and perspectives. These are the blessings I pray for Nehemiah and Mordecai

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