Why Am I Standing Here?
One of my favorite programs to watch with my children was The Muppet Show. The sketches were funny at both the kid and adult levels. One character, the janitor, seemed to have the most obvious but profound answers. In one sketch he was asked, “Beauregard, why are you standing there?” He calmly replied, “This is where my feet stopped.”
I still laugh at the simpleminded answer. Yet how many times have I found myself standing in the middle of a room wondering why and having no other answer than “This is where my feet stopped!”
Our Lord Jesus reminds us that we aren’t supposed to be just standing around. In His parable about the vineyard workers, the owner encountered a group of workers late in the afternoon: “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?” (Matthew 20:6) There was still work to be done!
Later, after Jesus had ascended from earth and was hidden by a cloud, his disciples were admonished by an angel, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (Acts 1:11) Those men still had to be ready to receive the Holy Spirit’s power, and the Lord Jesus had given them the job of being His witnesses, so they’d better do something besides standing around, waiting for Him to return.
Sometimes as leaders we are overwhelmed with the expectations that come with the job we are given. We are new parents. We have a new class full of learning-challenged students. We have taken a new job with new responsibilities in a new company or church. We have received a promotion and now others are looking to us for direction. We know we can’t just stand there. There are things to be done. We had better jump in and get busy! But doubts creep in. We second-guess our abilities and ourselves.
This reminds me of what Katharine Graham said when she was stepping into the leadership of the Washington Post, a position she had no real training for: “I had to come to realize that I could only do the job in whatever way I could do it. I couldn’t try to be someone else.”
Certainly we want to put our personal stamp on our leadership. We can’t be something we’re not. But at the same time as Christians we have to take it further. We need to ask, “What does God want me to do and how does He want me to do it?”
Our Lord Jesus wants us to live out our Christian faith in whatever we do. We need to be sure that we aren’t just standing still, but we also should pay attention to how we are walking… that we are walking the walk worthy of our calling as leaders.
To begin with, Jesus wants us to pay attention to our leadership attitude. We can have all sorts of titles and degrees and training. But those don’t guarantee successful leadership, especially if we want to model ourselves after our Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). That is a great place to start!
But then we ask, “What does my Lord Jesus want me to do?” Actually He’s prepared those good works already (Ephesians 2:10). So take stock of where you are. Where have your feet stopped in life? Look around and listen, keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities to share Jesus’ love and grace. You don’t have to preach the gospel. You don’t have to quote memorized verses from the Bible. Your words and actions should be all the gospel preaching you need to do.
At the same time we need to work on building our leadership qualities. Peter reminds us that we need faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and most of all love (2 Peter 1:5-7). If we don’t have these qualities he says we are nearsighted and blind and will lose our way. If guilt over our sins and failings is keeping us from moving forward, if we’re just standing where our feet stopped, then we are forgetting that our Lord Jesus has already washed them away (2 Peter 1:9). We can’t be effective leaders if we are feeling lost ourselves.
There’s a wonderful true story of a little boy who got lost at a professional golf tournament. One of the pro golfers noticed him standing there in his distress and asked him if he was okay.
“I can’t find my mom and dad!”
“Well you just walk with me and I’ll bet they’ll find you,” was the response… from Arnold Palmer.
Sometimes our children, our employees, our students, members of our organization or church seem lost. When we have the confidence of leadership grounded in our Lord Jesus, we can encourage them to ask for help and direction. Encourage them by saying you’ll be there. Tell them you’ll walk with them.
We can be that assurance if we’re also listening to the loving and caring voice of our Lord Jesus. Because He’s always checking in with us:
“Are you okay? Why are you standing there?”
And when we can’t find our way and think we are lost, He says, “Don’t worry. You just keep walking with Me!”
Because when we’re walking with the Lord Jesus we’re no longer lost. We’re just lost in His love.
Leaving my guilt at the cross,
(First published at Lead Like Jesus August 2021)