Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Help! I’m Doing Too Much!

Busyness, fast pace, urgency, and crowded schedules are the hallmarks of the life of a leader.  If you don’t want to be busy, then don’t attempt to lead!  But, there is no glory in flaming out young because of foolishness and unwise choices about lifestyle and priorities.  Decades of contribution lost because of our bad choices do not honor God.

As a young missionary in Indonesia I had the great privilege of escorting the missionary statesman, J.O. Sanders from one end of Java to the other.  That day together talking together marked me for life.  After listening to me for some time share my hopes, dreams, aspirations, and those things that I was not yet doing or desired to do he stopped me.  “Tom,” he said, “I’d like to say something to you.”  Now this was J.O. Sanders!  And he had something he wanted to say to me!  I was all ears.

“Tom, you need to come to grips with the possible!”

Some years later I was beginning a different leadership role back in the U.S.  I asked one of our leaders if he had any advice for me as I launched into this new responsibility.  Immediately he said this, “Tom, a mark of maturity is being able to live with unfinished tasks.”

While both leaders used different words, their message to me was the same.  There will always be more things to do than we have time or energy to do them.  The ‘to-do list’ only grows longer for a leader, seemingly never shorter!  The urgent demands for our attention scream for us to stop immediately and address them, only to be followed by more demands.  What to do?

“Come to grips with the possible!”  Put in a good days work, then lay your head down on the pillow and go to sleep.  Let God be God for you and your responsibilities while you rest.  Those demands (and more) will be waiting for you tomorrow.  Work hard and then lay it down!  Taking your cares to bed at night makes for very fitful and unrefreshing sleep!

The words of Jesus are such a penetrating reminder to all of us who are doing too much:

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?          Matthew 6:27

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.          Matthew 6:34

In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.          Psalm 127:2

How’s your sleep patterns?  Are you awakening each morning rested or weary from a night of  tossing and turning? Are you able to turn off your mind as it runs to your pressing, urgent issues of life and leadership?  Lay them down at His feet…He is willing and more than able to deal with them, while you get some much-needed rest!

 

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