We have moved to www.martinamcgowan.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Universe and Happenstance, Genesis Series (6)

artwork: Jan Brueghel Rubens The Garden of Eden

The ebb and flow of the seas, the rising and falling of the sun and moon, the rhythm of the seasons…we all know these things do not occur by chance of happenstance.

And, so too our lives. They cannot be left unattended. If we expect to advance, and possible even succeed in both our spiritual and our secular lives we cannot leave that to chance or fate or happenstance, either. Note that I have not tried to define what that word “success” may mean for you. It has a slightly different connotation for each of us. And, I am certainly not talking about “pie in the sky” prosperity thinking or religious outlook. You have to put the work in.

Do you show up for work hoping to be magically discovered or unexpectedly honored or promoted; or do you put in the extra effort to show that you know what you are doing? Even when no one is looking?

Is your spiritual life and expected destiny like a game of “Wheel of Fortune?” Is it left to chance? In your spiritual life, do you let the fate of your soul hinge on a turn of good luck, or are you hopeful that you are sufficiently well-behaved when your number is up? Or do you do some work to help assure that you are working out your soul’s salvation?

Good leaders never stop learning, never stop reading, never stop acquiring new knowledge and tools, never stop working and never stop moving forward!

We must be careful not to ever think of ouselves as fully arrived. There is always more to know, see, feel, do and teach. In fact, that's one of the reasons I enjoy teaching newbies. They have fresh eyes, they can put a new spin on something I have long taken for granted. And, even if I can't fully agree with what they are saying or thinking, it makes me say..."Hmmm, I never thought of it quite that way. Let me think about that for a bit." And, as my grandmother would have said, "I have learned something new, the day is not wasted." A really smart woman, born to a freed slave with minimal formal education.

As leaders, in addtition to continuing to grow, one of the most important things we do is to make other leaders. Even if you have never thought of yourself in a leadership position, someone is watching you, mimicking you and learning from you- the good, bad and ugly. It does not take a title to be a leader. Many of us do our best work to change organizations, and organizational culture, thought and behavior from the inside.

One of my favorite movies is “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” In it Tula’s mother says something like, “the man is the head of the house, and rules; but the woman is the neck, and she can move it wherever she wants.”

Even though you may not be the CEO, team leader, whatever, do your homework, make a contribution. Life is much more than just marking time. And who knows, if you contribute enough times, it will probably pay off. The least pay-off will be pride in what you do. Make a contribution!

Just as we do not leave our personal and spiritual development to chance, so too must we be conscientious about taking care of and training those who follow us. This is not an open invitation to producing more "Yes-men" and "Yes–women."

What we hope to produce are people who we have taken an interest in, who we pray will follow our best habits; but more importantly, people who can think!

Think about it yourself. Why build up any kind of legacy at home, work or church, if it is then left to no one who is capable of stepping in or stepping up?

What legacy are you leaving behind?

This is where you ask me, "Doc, how did you get that out of Genesis?"

Well, I’ve always (yes, always...I'm old) been a little disturbed about the story of Adam, Eve, Satan and the Tree. I am not re-writing history or the Bible, so don’t send me a note about that.

My personal questions are:
  • Who was the leader of this first family? We know, have been taught or simply take it for granted that it was God who taught Adam the “rules.”

  • Who taught the rules to Eve and the boys? You know,Cain and Abel?

  • Was the underlying cause of her sin and Fall from grace because of ignorance (the result of poor leadership), or was it just willfulness? And, sadly, many of these will sound like the same questions you ask after most business meetings. Hmmm...
    • What do I mean by poor leadership?
      • Was she ever taught the rules?
      • Did she not hear well?
      • Did she not understand them?
      • Did she think the rules didn't really apply to her, specifically?
      • Did she think she was above God's punishment?
      • Was she distracted by everything else going on in the garden?

    • What do I mean by willfulness? If you have any children, you don't need an example :).
      • Were she and Adam just determined to follow their own free will (which God had given them) and just do their own thing? And, this despite the punishment hanging over their heads?
So, that brings us to two questions for you, and I'm expecting some answers and / or comments:

1. What legacy are you leaving behind?

2. Was the Fall because of ignorance or willfulness? What do you think?


Bkangel said...

Ok, #2. I think it was a combo of both. Ignorance in that she did not recognize who God is. She did not realize his power. I would like to think she was a babe in Christ! Willfulness: Having the attitude of I am going to do what I choose to do and am very curious of this new life. You know the "what can it hurt attitude"!
#1 I know that at my age I should have the answer, but life sometimes take you on a course that has you so confused that you can't figure out from one day to the next if where you are is where you should be. HELP!!!!!!

Doc said...

Thanks for being bold and leaving a comment.
In terms of the second part of your answer, I think that our overall purpose is set. But, I feel that our specific purposes change with our phase of life, relocation, and any number of things.
For instance one of my purposes is to help. That means different things when I am with my extended family, at work or at church. The purpose remains the same, but the specifics are different.
We figure a lot of it out as we go.
As to Eve, I think she was willful, as we all are. But in looking at the behavior of Cain, I have to question the leadership of the tribe :-)