Thursday, April 12, 2012
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I was in a meeting in a hotel. It was in the 90s outside, but I was ready to put gloves on so I could write my notes without shaking. Maybe you've been in those rooms. It was hot outside but the air conditioner was on one notch past high - I think the setting was like on "arctic"? And all of us in the room became concerned about that setting, and one by one we wandered over to the box on the wall. You know we're all "fix it" guys; we'll make it better.
Well, when we got over to the box we discovered that the controls were all locked up; we couldn't get to them. So we called the front desk, and finally the maintenance man came and turned down the ice machine. Summer or winter he's the person; he's the one who decides what the temperature is. So are you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Climate Control."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the book of Nehemiah. Now, here's one of the greatest models of leadership in all the Bible; that's this man named Nehemiah. You may remember he led a monumental effort to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days. Not bad for a couple of months work, huh? Well, now as we reach this point in the book of Nehemiah, he is the Governor of the province. The wall is done, but these people are a poor group of people trying to establish life in their re-built city.
What is needed in order to establish a community there is a climate of unselfishness, sharing, and cooperation. Well, listen to what the leader does. Nehemiah says, "For 12 years neither I nor my brothers ate the food that was allotted to the governor. Now the earlier governors - those preceding me - placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to the food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people."
"But out of reverence for God, I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work. We did not acquire any land."
Later he says, "I never demanded the food allotted the governor because the demands were heavy on these people."
Okay, this is leadership! Nehemiah was the man who set the pace; he led the way. He set a temperature in Jerusalem. A temperature of sharing and giving, putting other people first, and the people followed. See, the greatest responsibility of a leader is never written in their job description. It's establishing a climate. Parents do it in their home, teachers do it in a classroom, leaders do it in a church, and supervisors do it in an office or a factory. In a sense, we are all leaders to the extent that we are setting a climate wherever we are.
Now, if you are in a position of influencing others, have you considered how the temperature feels where you are? What kind of climate is there around you? It's not even something you're doing consciously; it's your persona, your style, your values, your priorities, your pace. Those are the things that do it. You establish it not so much by what you say, but with how you live. Is it tense around you? Is that the temperature you set? Or are people around you seeing a model of caring, unselfishness, or like Nehemiah - pitching in on the job that needs to be done instead of just giving orders?
I wonder if in your world you set a climate of respect for other people by the way you talk about them and the way you talk to them? Or do they know there's a climate of prayer around you and they catch that? Is there a climate of worry, or is there a climate of trusting God?
You're a leader. You control the climate whether you realize it or not. So, make your room, so to speak, feel like it would if Jesus were there, because if you're a Christian, He is - in you.