People are most important – not projects or programs – a simple concept that sounds so honorable but in reality is difficult to live out. Jim Collins in his book, GOOD TO GREAT, suggests that he initially thought "that the first step in taking a good company to a great company would be to set a new direction, a new vision and strategy for the company, and induce people to become committed and aligned behind that new direction." But Collins' research found that companies who went from good to great "first got the right people on the bus and then figured out where to drive it." People are the most important ingredient.
Two recent conversations suggest that this is hard lesson to learn and live out. An administrator of a large organization who had recently battled major medical illness was asked, "What was the major lesson he had learned in the midst of his illness." His response – "It has taken this major illness to learn that people are most important." One day later I asked a North American pastor who is very familiar with missions what was the trend in missions for the future. His answer was, "Regrettably the trend in missions is to support projects rather than people." Note that Jesus had a plan and a purpose in coming to earth. However, in implementing that plan, people ALWAYS were the focus of his attention. He allowed people to interrupt his plans.
- People with medical problems (Mark 5:25-34)
- Children who needed defending (Mark 10:13-16)
- Women of questionable reputations (John 8:3-11)
- A fellow convict on the cross (Luke 23:39-43)
The rush to initiate or wind-up a project is intense. Think of our workdays, in the office or in the home. Too often, people "get in the way." Let us attempt to imitate Jesus by allowing people interrupt our plans. And ask the question "Is the project actually working against the priority of the people for whom it is designed?
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
Sharing the journey with you,