I attended a seminar on Wednesday that I had hoped would make me a better leader. It was about coaching the people who work for you. I always figure there’s more I can learn about how to be an encouragement to my staff, so off I went.
Truthfully, I wasn’t that impressed with it. While I did pick up a number of hopefully useful nuggets of information that can help to form me better as a leader, I found that much of it was a self-help seminar filled with strung-together clichés. I knew no one else at the seminar personally, but by the end of it even some of them were starting to mock the leader. That’s unfortunate, because it amounts to a missed opportunity on the part of both the seminar leader and those who gave up paying attention.
Perhaps, though, my mocking classmates understood something, either theologically or innately, that came to the front of my mind as I was hearing all about the importance of Human Potential: if it’s all up to me, it ain’t gonna happen.
The self-help movement often is couched in ersatz spiritual jib-jab, but in reality, it is most atheistic (or agnostic at best). That is, when we place all our emphasis on human action, God is ignored.
“Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?” (Psalm 130.3, NLT). Dependence on human action is frail at best, because we cannot be perfectly relied upon. But God can! Take a look at the next few verses of that Psalm: “But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn” (Psalm 130.4-6, NLT).
Isn’t that great news? We often fail. God does not. And even when we have neglected to bring God into the equation (which was his to begin with!) earlier on, he extends grace to us when we (finally) reach out to him.
Human potential has its place, but only under God. So, be all that you can be! Give thanks to God who enabled you to be all that you can be. And ask God to build you even more. He knows the difference you will make in reliance on him, instead of yourself.