There are countless books, articles, academic papers, blog posts, and the like around things like “change management”. (One book my husband and I particularly love is "Unexpected Guests at God's Banquet" by Brett Webb-Mitchell. Thought provoking, accessible, and insightful.)
Here’s are some important things to note about change:
It’s not simply going to happen because you wish it would.
In business culture, we frequently commiserate with colleagues and lament the things we wish were different. We question decisions or processes. Complain that the management or executive teams aren’t listening, or aren’t accessible. We frustrate ourselves around the environment we don’t like, the challenges we face, the personality clashes we experience, the lack of communication or information.
The trick, however, is that we also often throw those frustrations out over lunch with colleagues….and then simply go back to putting our heads down and doing business as usual without changing our own behavior one bit. Before change can be managed, it has to be sparked. By someone. By actions. By getting your own hands dirty.
Yet we wait. For change to happen to us. For someone else to take the initiative to sit down and think not just about the problem, but to design a solution rather than simply a compromise. For someone else to initiate and prepare for the conversation with the big boss, or pull the department heads together, or to take the team to lunch and put some tangible ideas to paper. For someone else to take ownership of the issue and simply shower us with the miraculous results for the sake of making our lives easier.
There is a story in the bible about a crippled man named Mephibosheth. He desperately needed things to change in his life. However, in order for this to happen he needed help. He needed someone to extend grace and mercy towards him. This would require people getting their “hands dirty.” The question is - are you willing to get your hands dirty?
In 2 Samuel 4:4 Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. He was the crippled son of Jonathan, David´s closest friend. The king had entered a covenant with the father of Mephibosheth. But why can’t it be you? Or me?
In our personal lives we talk a great deal about accountability for changing behaviors or habits. WaInting it badly enough to simply take steps toward making something happen. But organizationally, we’re daunted by things like hierarchy and process. We excuse ourselves as being too busy individually to take the time to collectively contribute to something different (collaboration does indeed take time). We cite the limitations of our job description instead of embracing the potential and the audacity of fluid boundaries, of doing what’s needed instead of just what’s prescribed. We presume the executives know the issues at hand, despite ESP not really being a skill most CEOs possess. And for whatever reason, we tend to think its other people’s job to communicate with us instead of seeking out and in turn distributing the information we need.
Because of the covenant, the king extended grace to Mephibosheth. He became as one of the king´s sons. Our King made a covenant with Abraham. Because of God's unconditional covenant, grace is extended to us. Through Christ, we become sons of the King!
Whether it’s designing a more social business or simply improving communication between church auxiliaries, change has to be a verb before it can be a noun. It has to start somewhere before it can take root and actually make an impact for the better.
Because David was willing to make a change and include Mephibosheth at the table, rather than exclude him; he became a beneficiary of David’s faithfulness.
"Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for Jonathan, your father's sake and I will restore to you all the land of Saul , your grandfather !"
That was unbelievable enough .. but then came the promise....
"YOU shall eat bread at my table continually!"
Mephibosheth, having lived with shame all his life was unable to grasp the 'dispelling' of it and questioned ... "WHY?? why would you do this, why even look at a dead dog such as I?"
But it was true... the King's blessings were poured upon Mephibosheth and he was treated as one of the King's sons, sharing the King's table for the rest of his life.
(II Sam. 4 and 9)
A beautiful story that exemplifies change, is it not?
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.." I John 3:1
".... that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom..." Luke 22:30
Food for Thought - God never made a promise He did not keep.
He is still keeping His promises to those who are His children by faith in Christ.
• I will never leave you nor forsake you.
• No one can snatch you out of my Father´s hand.
• I give you eternal life.
• I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure.
• With every temptation shall be a way of escape.
• My grace is sufficient for you.
• Those whom I love, I chasten, as a father does his son.
• I will come again for you and receive you to myself.
• I will wipe away every tear.
• I will make all things new.