Doing things right vs. doing the right things…

Saul was a king that clearly did not have God’s heart in mind. In fact, Saul was so drunk with power and prestige, he had no one’s heart in mind as a leader. Leading by ego and power, Saul would often “step in it” as he did tasks without the glory of God in mind. One example is found in 1 Samuel 14, where Saul was faced with following procedure to execute his son, Jonathan, for a “sin” against Saul that was done in ignorance. Regardless of what one might think of Saul’s vow before God (you can read about it here), he was willing to carry out enforcing his own rules, even to the cost of his own son! Sometimes it’s important not to overlook the people as you are doing the tasks.

Peter Drucker once wrote, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things” (Essential Drucker: Management, the Individual and Society). One takeaway that I get from this is that it’s one thing to be sure that you are correctly following procedure, to be on task, yet, a leader should be ready to set his tasks aside for the good of others.

This week and a half, Teresa and I got a chilling phone call that caused us to set aside our tasks for the good of others. Her mom, who lives in the Philippines and just lost her husband, was feeling very sick and was hospitalized with pneumonia. We had heard that she was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she didn’t recognize some of her family members. She wanted to see her kids, and we feared the worst.

We have a busy life, but this was vitally important, so we didn’t think twice to place people (especially family) before tasks. Teresa and I found a flight to the Philippines and got on it the next day. We were able to see her mom (who had by that point been discharged) and we assessed her overall health and living conditions. We found much of her confusion not to be attributable to Alzheimer’s but to the medicine and illnesses, something that was a big relief to us. Regardless, we worked to improve her care and living conditions in her hot, humid home, and we talked things out with her so that she could plan for her future, including a new place to live now that her husband has passed on.

Most of all, we shared Christ. I sat at her kitchen table and admired my wife as she shared the gospel with her mother. I was so proud of her. She explained to her mom the need for a personal relationship with Jesus, the importance of coming to Christ and finding Christian friends to talk to and grow with, and how Jesus is the only way to heaven. It was Teresa’s gift to her mom, the eternal gift that had eternal consequences, and it was a blessing for me to enjoy.

I am glad that we got to come to see her in the Philippines. This visit has had an impact on my wife’s family. I wouldn’t want to fail to mention how Teresa’s dad and step mom have been so gracious to us as well- they have driven us around and taken us to church with them. I have also enjoyed the talks that her dad and I have had.

Please pray for my wife’s family, for the gospel, and for the work to be done in the future. We praise God for placing us in such a time as this.  I’m glad that at least in this case, we have placed people before tasks and did the right thing.

Pastor Fran

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