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Chalk It Up To: Initiative

Like the horizons for breadth and the ocean for depth, the understanding of a good leader is broad and deep.  Proverbs 25:3 (MSG)

I love my Women’s Minister. Whenever and wherever she sees a need, she is willing to get her feet wet. Make no mistake, her every move is undergirded in intimacy with God. Where others’ eyes are out of focus, Linda has vision. It is remarkable to see her sensitivity to people and circumstances, and then to see her respond. Chalk it up to initiative. There is no doubt we are to love with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18). Some people just are better at it.

Let us consider this corollary then: “people follow people with a vision; people don’t follow a vision”. If I am to be a leader amongst my friends, I need to be sensitive to God at work around me and act on what I see. I need to take the initiative, not wait for someone else to step in.

The Old Testament judge, Deborah, certainly took the initiative in her time. We read about her leadership in Judges 4:4-10. When the commander of her armies refused to go to battle unless Deborah went along, she did not hesitate. Understand here the intimacy Deborah had with God—the order was at God’s command (4:10). In the end, the honor of defeat of Sisera went to another woman, Jael—she also showed initiative. A little squeamish? Forget the tent peg story then (4:21); nevertheless Jael did what she needed to do and Israel’s enemy was destroyed (4:24).

In this world today there exists unexcused inequity towards women. A book by Naomi Zacharias of Wellspring International has come to my attention: The Scent of Water. I urge you to read it and get a sense of the horrors that persist: enforced abortion in China after the birth of one son continues; bride burning in India is not a thing of the past; and once entrapped in prostitution, the way out is nigh impossible. We need to be aware; the sex trade is filtering over into the U.S. If we, the women of God, shut our eyes to the oppression of our sisters, who will care? Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated fairly (Proverbs 29:14 MSG).

I like the Scripture source of the title for The Scent of Water: “At least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant” (Job 14:17-19). As it is possible for a tree to flourish with the mere scent of water, so is it possible for the scent of Jesus on you and me to affect those in dire circumstances. Lord, help me to be aware, sensitive, and to take the initiative. I wish to motivate, to neither mislead nor exploit (Proverbs 16:10 MSG).

Nancy P

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