Use your imagination a bit. Now, work with me on this.
"Why do you wait so long to clean me?" the oven cried out.
"Because I don't like the work it takes to clean you," says me.
Oven's response..."If you wouldn't wait so long it would not be so much work."
"Ouch, that hurts," I replied.
How often do we do that to our own lives; especially as leaders. We love and feel compelled to tell other's what they need to work on in their lives. But, for a long minute let's take a look at our own lives.
What is it that we have let sit around and grow crusty and hard? It may start out small, like a small spill in the oven, but as time goes on it becomes hard and more spills happen. We may think it is not that important or that big, so we let it sit there...a hurt word from a parishoner, a harsh response from our spouse, a neglected attitude, the list could go on. Each person has their own "spill."
It has been said we will not lead past our own spiritual or leadership growth; so my challenge to each of us today is to take a good look at our lives. Where do we want to go in our spiritual and leadership development? Have we come to a stand still? Do we wonder why we're not seeing growth in those we lead?
Maybe it is because we have allowed too many "spills" in our lives. Our lives have become hard to those who truly love us and want us to succeed. It is so very important to make sure the hurts, harsh responses from people and our own neglected attitudes do not build up to the place it seems impossible to clean.
As I was cleaning my oven I realized how much easier it would have been to have cleaned up the spill when it happened. But, there was the excuse, "the oven's too hot, I'll wait." I would then wait and get caught up doing other things. That is so true for our own lives. We think about changing, but put it off until a more convenient time. It would be so much easier to forgive the person that made the hurtful remark when it happened. Instead we would much rather let it sit awhile, as we have a pity party for ourself.
God wants us to realize that this is the time. Now is better than later. Allow the Holy Spirit to come in, saturate us with His presence and speak into our spirit. In order to get my oven clean I had to saturate it with oven cleaner and let it sit. Well, we have a spiritual oven cleaner...the Holy Spirit. Sit in the presence of the Holy Spirit and stay there a while. Let Him show us what has been sitting in our life and getting hard. He can clean us up and make us like new.
Remember, as leaders, it is imperative we do this on a regular basis. Make sure we do not get to the point that we do not think we need this. We cannot do life and ministry alone. We need God to show us where we are weak and vulnerable. He does this as we sit in His presence and often times uses others as well. As He does this and we have allowed Him access we become stronger leaders and more humble leaders.
I trust this has spoken to each of us and we all go away stronger because of it.