Do you have a can-do person? Do you have that person you turn to who, despite all the odds can get it done? I’m sure you do. Organisations, very often have them – that one person on whom the organisation counts, to get the job done. Unfortunately in organisations, that can-do person is also one who gets it done by any means necessary. In such cases, integrity and morality play a small role when the job needs to be done.
Let’s be honest: it’s not always good for us to boast of having a get-it-done person. Quite candidly, we might prefer not to know what it took to get the job done. It leaves us in a position of claiming plausible deniability, doesn’t it, if we don’t always know the means employed to get the job done. In our human fallibility, in our human limitation, there are some things that will not be within our control. Seeking then to bring as much as possible within our control, there will be moments when we resort to unorthodox and, even, questionable methods to meet our objectives.
In the New Testament, that person to ‘get-the-job-done’ was Saul of Tarsus, who later changed his name to Paul. Saul was a persecutor of the Followers of the Way – the original name for Christians. In fact, in the Acts of the Apostles, he entered the scene as a young man, Saul, at whose feet coats were laid at the stoning of Stephen, an apostle of Christ. Acts 8 begins with the rage of Saul visible as he ‘[ravaged] the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, [so that he could commit] them to prison.’ (Acts 8:3). After a brief respite throughout the rest of Chapter 8, Chapter 9 opens with Saul, ‘still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, [going] to the high priest and [asking] him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem’ (Acts 9:1-2). If there was anyone who might have been considered a ‘can-do’ man, I’m sure Saul was that person.
Saul was no rival, though, for the real ‘Can-do One’. As we say in Trinidad and Tobago, Saul’s trip to Damascus didn’t last longer than the Red House fire, for no sooner had he set out on his journey than he was confronted by the risen Christ. Coming out of that confrontation, Saul was converted, and his name changed to Paul. Saul-turned-Paul would later write most of the New Testament. On his genocidal mission to Damascus, Saul was stopped dead in his tracks, blinded for three days and, during that period of blindness, made to see the error of his ways. When he came out of his blindness, he was converted into a can-do man for Jesus Christ.
But, my story isn’t about Saul as the can-do one. No, my story is about God within whom lies the power to turn the most desperate and darkest of situations around. As Joseph said to his brothers towards the conclusion of Genesis, ‘Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.’ (Genesis 50:20). The stubbornest of situations are no match for God. The vilest of offenders become as putty in the hands of the Lord (we have only to think of the thief who hanged on the cross next to Jesus Christ and who repented and so, was saved).
Let’s apply this argument to the process of HEWing and shaping you into the you you were meant to be. Let’s understand the relevance of this story to your human effectiveness at work. HEWing is about shaping you so that you fulfil your purpose. Purpose involves dramatic conversions/turnarounds such as that of Saul. The fulfilment of one’s purpose will invariably include making difficult decisions. If you have never been at that juncture, if you have never been at that point where you needed to make a leap of faith, if you have never been at that point where you experienced a life-changing crise de conscience, my friend, you have not yet gotten to that intense part of your purpose journey.
Purpose is a journey that requires the best of us (not perfect, now…don’t get me wrong). In order to deliver our best, there are bad habits, unhealthy associations, disabling thought patterns and career-stalling behaviours that we will have to leave behind. A bit of circumcision will need to take place in order for you to be well underway towards your purpose. Some have gotten to the point and, daunted and discouraged by the discomfort it necessarily involves, turned back or abandoned the journey at that point. I’m sure, though, that there are many more stories of those who have continued, recognising that they had gone too far to turn back.
If you are at such a juncture in your life, what is preventing you from moving forward? Let me offer you some encouragement. Perhaps you are contemplating all the work that needs to be done and you are saying to yourself, ‘I can’t do this!’ May I share something with you? You are right. You can’t do it. But there is one who can. It is the One who made a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. It is the same One who calmed the seas. It is the One who fills us with courage. It is the One of whom Paul would write, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:13). It is the One who strengthened him enough to write in Philippians 3, ‘but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:13-14).
Friends, make no mistake, purpose requires tremendous HEWing. Take it from one who’s been undergoing her own HEWing. None of us can undertake that process alone. We cannot, and should not. It is why we must know that He can provide what we do not have on our own. Can I encourage you to give Him the chance to? Saint or sinner, you just call. You will always find him there. It does make Him sad to see the way we live, but He will always say, ‘I forgive’.
As I close, I leave you with the lyrics of the hymn (Lyrics by Richard Mullan), ‘He’.
He can turn the tides and calm the angry sea. He alone decides who writes a symphony. He lights every star that makes our darkness bright, He keeps watch all through each long and lonely night. He still finds the time to hear a child’s first prayer, Saint or sinner call and always find Him there. Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live, He’ll always say, ‘I forgive’. He can grant a wish or make a dream come true, He can paint a cloud and turn the grey to blue. He alone knows where to find the rainbow’s end, He alone can see what lies beyond the bend. He can touch a tree and turn the leaves to gold, He knows every lie that you and I have told. Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live, He’ll always say, ‘I forgive’.
Until next time,
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