Thursday, August 9, 2012

grace a lot. expect a lot.

In the short time I've worked in my new place, I have learned one very valuable and life-impacting lesson: we can love others by expecting a lot and giving grace a lot. My boss exemplifies this Jesus-like quality SO well.
Everyone I see come through his office, which is PLENTY of people let me tell you, (thus, praise the Lord, Taylor has a job) leaves impacted. No, the issues are not always life-altering issues. They are mostly little snags in the plans that people make for their lives with regards to school or career. My boss is a problem-solver of sorts; with that authority many people would abuse it and stand high on the platform with chin and nose in the air. Let me take a minute and share with you the humility with which my boss holds his position.

I've noticed a pattern where people walk in the office stressed, frazzled, and hurried. They have an issue that needs immediate attention from someone who can do something about it. They walk out peaceful, smiling, and with a lighter demeanor in general. What happened in there? Did he give them what they wanted? Did he help them figure out their life? Did he offer the best advice? Probably a little bit of all of that happened..

My boss is one who believes the best in everyone who walks in the door. He looks at everyone with value, despite their "status" or what they can do for him. He listens. When they leave, he has done two things:

1. Given a lot of grace.

When someone has done something that causes them to have to even come in the office, it sometimes means that they have missed the mark in some way or another. To have to speak to a "head honcho" about your mistakes or shortcomings is never fun. When that head guy is full of grace and understanding.. it creates an entirely different experience. It's like they have been given a second chance or a do-over.

2. Expected a lot.

He also listens to that person's story and listens to who they are and what their goals are. He makes sure that they know that he expects great things from them.. even the people everybody else has given up on. He looks them in the eyes and says, "well, you'll do better and then we won't have to worry about this." I can tell you now, the person rises up. When you expect great things, you typically get great things out of a person.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."  - 1 Corinthians 15:10
A commentary in my Bible (because I wouldn't have been smart enough to really know this otherwise) said that Paul wrote (in this verse) of working harder than the other apostles but it was not arrogant boasting because he knew that his power came from God and that it really didn't matter who worked hardest.

Now, this might be a stretch, but when someone offers you grace and a "fresh" start, you're going to work hard to please them and to show them that you meant what you said when you said, "I'm sorry", or "I'll do better", or "I didn't mean to do that". I know there are differences, but I believe that my boss is showing the character and heart of Jesus when he is firm in his expectations yet full of life-giving grace in difficult situations. Believing the best in people and then offering those two gifts could just be yet ANOTHER way we could love people the way Christ loves us. I sure am learning a lot.

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