“Was that THE Jack Brickhouse?”
I’d been listening in on a conversation my new boss and the store manager were having with someone on the phone. As my boss hung up the receiver, I couldn’t help but blurt out my excitement. Suddenly I became an important source of information.
“What do you mean?”
“You know. The voice of the Chicago Cubs. The vice president of station WGN.”
The two of them stared at me in disbelief. My boss slowly and evenly explained their predicament:
“His wife is downstairs wanting a store credit so her husband wouldn’t find out she was buying him a present. We just spoke with his bank to verify their credit and his employment. I just embarrassed myself completely! Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Well, I’m new here. Besides I thought everyone knew who Jack was.”
“Apparently not everyone follows baseball. From now on, if you know something, speak up!”
We never know what bits of knowledge or random skill we’ve acquired that will one day come in handy. We also never know who else might have information or an ability that might be useful.
As leaders, we need to be open to input from others who might be more knowledgeable than we are on topics or in certain situations. If we create an atmosphere of sharing information, knowledge or skills, then even the most timid contributor will be bold to step forward.
I opened myself to student feedback from day one of the school year. I let my class know they were all smarter than I was at something. However, I was the one who knew the most about what I would be teaching them. That was usually true even when I was a substitute teacher. But in the early days of computer labs, I was clueless on how to proceed. The first thing I did was ask who in the class knew the most about computers. That student immediately became the trusted assistant to this bewildered sub!
We learn some things because we are taught. We can be handed a manual or a handbook, but that’s not the same as someone coming alongside and showing us what’s expected. When I worked as a substitute clerical worker, it was vital for me to quickly learn letter formats, how phones were answered, the scope of my duties, and who I answered to. I was grateful for that person who clearly explained everything in a concise way that I could understand.
But not everything can be learned in an instant. And it’s discouraging when no one shares their knowledge or comes to our rescue. It’s tough to learn the hard way… from our mistakes.
Sometimes a personal guide is important for anyone joining a company, a choir, a church or any other group or organization. I assigned helpers to students who were new to our school and needed to learn the unique and sometimes subtle expectations of our campus. I could take care of the fourth-grade rules and guidelines, but I couldn’t be with that student all day. They needed a buddy to smooth the path through the first couple of weeks.
If we’re looking out for our new members, our new employees, it’s a good idea to offer a trusted, knowledgeable guide to help them through those early days. Someone who is willing to share their acquired knowledge and wisdom.
Over the years we all gain a storehouse of knowledge. We often wonder what we’re supposed to do with all the things we’ve learned. We can’t figure out why we’re doing a job or task or learning something that we’re sure we’ll never use again. And then the Lord Jesus puts us into a situation where just that information or skill is needed. Sometimes it’s a culmination of several random learning experiences that prepared us for a career or position we never could have imagined. Sometimes it’s just an opportunity to share our knowledge, skill, or experience to help someone.
I know I’ve been taught many things in my lifetime, but what does my Lord Jesus really want me to learn? To treat the Lord God with respect and awe (Deuteronomy 31:13). To learn and follow His guidelines (Deuteronomy 5:1). To learn wisdom and common sense (Proverbs 8:5). To learn to do good, seek justice, and correct oppression (Isaiah 1:17). To learn to be content (Philippians 4:11).
My Lord Jesus is also clear that He wants us to learn, not from just any source we come across, but from Him alone (Matthew 11:29). I have confidence in that trusted, knowledgeable Guide. I can lean on Him and ask for advice as I navigate these sometimes-challenging days on this earth. I also know how to continue learning about my Savior as I read and study His Word and listen when others share about what that Word has taught them.
And then it’s time to pass on what I’ve learned, how my Lord Jesus has worked in my life. I can be that “faith buddy” to someone who is discovering what it means to be a saved child of God. Letting them know the only One they need to worry about answering to is the Lord Jesus. Assuring them they can go right to Him and tell Him anything and He will lift their burden of guilt.
The most important thing is to share the best news of all. He is that Savior who died, rose, and lives just for them. He forgives them and loves them completely. And because of all this, their life is full of freedom and joy!