By Jim Whitt
Sometimes it’s strange where you find inspiration. My friend Monty Teeter asked me to speak at his company’s Christmas party. I was struggling with what I was going to say when I stumbled onto a quote from a book on project management I was reading.
That quote made me think about the birth of Jesus so I’ll start with this passage from the Bible: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, ‘Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.’ When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well.”*
Why were they terrified? I found the answer in the project management book which referred to Machiavelli’s warning in The Prince to all who attempt to alter the status quo: “There is nothing more difficult to carry out, or more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit from the old order.”
I never really thought of my work as a consultant as being a reformer but companies hire me to help initiate new orders in their organizations. The new order is designed to help make the business and the lives of their employees better. But the prospect of upsetting the old order terrifies many employees. Those who feel threatened often decide I’m the enemy. After all, I’m altering the status quo.
But my job is easy compared to what Jesus faced. He was the ultimate reformer. And because of that he made enemies of all who profited from the old order. They wanted him dead. It took a little over 30 years for them to get it done. If they had only realized that the very thing they thought would save the old order was the very thing that destroyed it.
There is significance in the length of Jesus’s life. In the Bible 30 years is considered to be a generation. The strategic planning process I developed requires businesses to look 30 years ahead. Why? It takes a generation to implement meaningful change. It took a generation for Jesus to initiate a new order that rocked the world.
Jesus had to make the toughest decision a leader has ever made. In the Garden of Gethsemane he struggled with that decision. Put yourself in that position, “Am I willing to fulfill my purpose even if it costs me everything?” Jesus’s answer to that question came in a conversation with his father that night in what proved to be the final hours of his life: “I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do.”* That’s purposeful leadership.
You were put here on earth to fulfill a specific purpose. It’s the reason you were created. It’s your role in the new order. I can’t tell you what your purpose is. But I can tell you how to find it. And then you have to decide if you are willing to complete down to the last detail what you’re assigned to do.
You see, Christmas is all about change, leadership and purpose. Merry Christmas.
*Quotes are from The Message. Copyright © 2015 Jim Whitt Purpose Unlimited 918.494.0009 Permission to reprint: You may reprint this article in your own print or electronic newsletter, but please include the following: “Reprinted from the Purpose Unlimited E-Letter: For a free subscription, go to www.PurposeUnlimited.com.”