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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't Bring 'em Down in 2009

Attitude is everything... at least it is a major part of leadership. You see it in business, family, sports, and church. When a perceived leader develops a bad attitude it seems to infect the entire organization. I work with businesses everyday, some better than others. But the one thing that sets the better than average apart is not the amount of revenue they generate, the quality of their product or the brilliance of their staff, it is the attitude of the people, especially that of the leader(s).

I see it in my daughter Emily's varsity basketball team. They started the season 7 - 1 with high hopes of winning their district. Since then they have fallen below the 500 mark and I think it can be traced back to attitude. Cockiness on the part of some of the seniors became laziness on the part of those seniors which has become heartbreak for the team as the underclassmen have been working their butts off to try and salvage the season (by the way, Em is a sophomore, not a senior). Now we have 2 seniors hurt which might turn out to be the best thing that could happen in the long run as the underclassmen are assuming starting roles and instilling a new attitude in the team.

The worst place I see attitude affecting the organization is church. In Matthew 18 Jesus is teaching us that to truly understand who God is and what our relationship with Him should be like we have to become like little children.

Children, small children, are trusting of everyone. My doctoral work was in human development. Until the age of 3 most children are like superhighways, traveling in all kinds of directions and to the chagrin of parents will run to anyone with open arms. They simply trust! Have you noticed how new Christians in your church are so trusting, but those of us more "mature" try to warn them to stay away from so and so, or worse yet, we say to ourselves, "they'll learn." How sad.

Even more disheartening is how eager new Christians are to serve, and again, those of us more "mature" sit back and say to ourselves, "they'll get over it" instead of encouraging them and letting their enthusiasm inspire us. Small children love to help. As a parent it is the time when we see them wanting to do dishes and clean their rooms and pick up after themselves (I wonder what happens?).

Jesus teaches us that we must become like these little children; trusting and eager to serve and love and reach out. He also warns those of us more "mature" that when we cause them to sin, I think He means lose their childlike characteristics, then it would be better for us to hang a stone around our necks and drown ourselves. Wow, that is severe! But that is how adamant He is about stealing the childlike characteristics away from others and passing on our bad attitudes.

I think there is a whole sermon in this, but for now I challenge you to make it a New Years Resolution to "Not Bring 'em Down in 2009!" I know I am going to be very careful about my attitude and how it affects others. I don't want Jesus to tell me to "go jump in a lake," I don't like the connotation!

Just sayin'

Shawn

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