When You Lock Out…

Dear Servant Leader,

“Jesus went up on a mountain side and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” Mark 3:13-14

Here’s a thought for you, “When you lock out, you miss out.”

I have a Master Lock that I have been using since junior high. It continues to serve me well, doing what locks do best… locking my good stuff in and keeping the bad guys out. Of course, the combination and locking mechanism have gotten easier and easier to use over the years. My 3-number combination is “loose” to say the least. Any 3-5 numbers either direction of the actual combo and, “CLICK,” I’m in! It’s fast, convenient, and even though it has seen better days, still does the job. In this Leader Lesson, let’s talk locking mechanisms.

As leaders we are prone to a sense of isolation. It’s just safer that way. If we keep our stuff locked in and other stuff, mostly other people locked out, we minimize risk and maintain control. The only problem is, what we save in the risk we lose in reward. 

Jesus was the Master of relational risk/reward. He took the risk and let in twelve men that others may not have chosen to begin with and then spent three years speaking into their lives, all the while modeling the stuff He was teaching. The risk was all too real as He suffered betrayal and denial on His way to a crucifixion with few friends to be found. However, in the end, the rewards were more than worth it as access to deeper, eternal relationships was gained, huge lessons were learned and a group of people became equipped to turn the world upside down with the lifesaving message of the Gospel.   

Here’s the point, don’t lock out and miss out! Yes, there is a safer way to lead. Leading alone or from a safe relational distance will spare you a lot emotionally, and give you a sense of security and control. However, what you will miss out on is the richness God designed to be found in relationships built on shared truth, trust, transparency and vulnerability. No, pain won’t always be locked out, but a greater sense of true Christian community, of God’s love, joy, peace and so much more will be allowed in! 

So, what combinations have you been using to lock others out? Perhaps things like distance, denial, deflection, distraction, etc? The fact is, the longer you use these combinations, the easier they become. Sure, you have been hurt before and promised you weren’t going to be hurt again! Keep it up and before long, you will be one lonely leader (if a leader at all).

Here’s my challenge… be discerning in doing so, but let a few others in through those things mentioned above; shared truth, trust, transparency and vulnerability. Don’t miss out on all that God has in store. Pray about letting in those God has strategically placed around you and unlock all kinds of good stuff through those relationships. The reward will be worth the risk.

Locking out less,

Tom

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