"Then the man who had received the one talent came. Master, he said, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you. His master replied, You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest." Matthew 25:24-27
Leadership takes spunk, the willingness to take a risk and go beyond ourselves, our experience and knowledge and into what is best for the body of Christ. The servants were each given opportunities to serve their master, and were given the ability and responsibility to lead. All the servants did well and received the praise from their Master. However, one servant decided to play it safe. He responded to his responsibility with a sense of protection, so he hid the talents so no one else could steal them. He refused to take a risk and do what his Master required and expected. On the surface this may not seem so bad, since in a bad decision he could have lost it all. But the master would not have been upset if the servant lost the talents in an investment and failed his task as long as he tried his best. The intense anger was directed at the inactivity of the gifts and abilities that he received. The servant was given all that he needed to succeed, or at least to serve at his best, but he preferred to hand over his abilities to the ground where they would be of no use and the result was no growth. No growth in his personal experience and nurture or growth in the fruits of his work because he did nothing. Even if he failed and lost all of the talents, even if we fail and do not meet the expectations of our overseer, we will at least grow in the nurture of the faith as long as we try our best with the gifts as given to us. The praise was directed at the effort and willingness of the servants who decided to take the risk. The question is are we taking the necessary risks without being reckless, are we doing our best with the abilities God has trusted to our care? We are responsible to obey His call, we are not responsible for the results, because that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
We must be willing to do the work and put our best effort forward for His service. When we have been given gifts, no matter how much or what level, we have a responsibility to use them. When we do not, we too can expect our Lord to be very displeased with us. We can follow God's will and please Him by responding to the responsibility we have been given, and we do this by imitating Christ. We can please God by taking His love and giving it to others, and finding our natural talents and spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit entrusted to us. This takes risk. This takes spunk. As leaders, we are to compel our people to follow their call and exercise their gifts with energy and passion, and to do it with spunk. Spunk is the willingness to take the risk with a joyful attitude, while being wise stewards, and not as children sharing their piece of candy. Spunk is not being reckless. We are not overly concerned with our reputation or what we will lose because our confidence is in the Lord. He will protect us in His way and His time. If our concern is self-protection, then we will lose and be ineffective as a leader. Of course, remember commonsense; do not allow a breach of protocol or virtue to become an excuse for a goal, saying our trust is in the Lord. For example, as a pastor never counsel women alone. Go to a public place or invite another to come along. If you think you are above reproach and must help her first, and think it is a risk worth taking, you are wrong. Do not allow a spurious action to take place, even if your motives are pure and true. When I first started out as a youth pastor many years ago, I used to tie an old car hood to the back of my VW, as a slide, and give kids a ride. This was very attractive, extremely fun and drew a lot of youth in. However it was a breach of safety. There were many other ways to attract youth and have fun without sacrificing safety. Spunk works together with discernment!
The opposite of spunk is procrastination. Procrastination is a tremendous destroyer of His church. It distorts our abilities and call; it distorts our opportunity and the gifts He has given us. Procrastination wastes the precious short time we were given to do our call, and this is "Pew Sitting" at its best or I should say worst. The problem with this destructive force is, it is addictive. When the leaders procrastinate, it quickly catches on to the rest of the congregation. If you have a lazy boss at work that expects little of you, then little is usually what you give in return. I cannot count the times I heard over the years, "let us wait on that" or "well, we do not need to do that" or "I do not see why we should do that" and " well, we've never done it that way before." These are the destructive procrastination diseases that sit down the church and neuter its ability to serve and please God. Yes, we do need to be careful and plan ahead with wisdom and discernment and not be reckless, but too many people in the church do not have a discernment problem, but a "getting off the pew and doing something problem!"
"Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap." Ecclesiastes 11:4
© 1994, 2001, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org