“So I’m ready to implement all of the research and development of my ideas I’ve worked on this year. I’m ready to move forward in the fall.”
“Well, that’s not going to happen.”
“But I thought this was your priority.”
“Well it isn’t anymore. I want you to…”
And then came another “urgent” need I was expected to jump into and fulfill. It didn’t take me long to realize that the assessment of my work, my performance, was secondary to a reactionary plan in this person’s agenda. A few days later I handed in my resignation and walked away.
The end of year review focuses on our performance: what was accomplished and how well we did it. Perhaps it includes an extension of the job, more responsibilities or even a promotion. Sometimes it’s a complete shift to something new. A good review combines both a look at accomplishments and a view to even greater possibilities.
A list of achievements is satisfying. It’s a time for celebration. We all cherish those words, “Well done!” But when we also include encouragement for continued success or ideas for branching out, we energize our employees, our coworkers, our children. The focus is twofold… what has been accomplished and what lies ahead for even greater responsibilities and success.
Our Lord Jesus gave his disciples a review of what they had accomplished. He had sent them out to perform miracles and proclaim the good news that He was the Messiah. When they returned He couldn’t praise their accomplishments enough. He also told them they would have even more success. Those disciples must have been riding high congratulating each other. But then the Lord Jesus reminded them their salvation deserved much more rejoicing (Luke 10:1-23).
As a teacher I gave students a performance review, their report card. Certainly their eyes scanned the grades to see how they measured up. But I was always pleased when parents focused on the other comments. How well they got along with their peers. Their perseverance to finish a task without being prodded. Their dependability to hand in assignments. Their trustworthiness and honesty. Their willingness to help others.
So what about adding this type of assessment to a company, organization, or even a family? Why should a review only focus on our accomplishments, our grade so to speak. As adults, do we get a pass on the rest?
Somewhere in the process, something else needs to be assessed if there is going to be a smooth running organization, church, or family. How has the person’s attitude affected their ability to do their job? To work with others? To reach the goals and mission?
As leaders, we also need to look at how we minister to others. Are we engaging with our staff, not just once or twice a year but all year long, encouraging and evaluating their progress? Are we available to provide reminders and corrections? Do we model our Lord Jesus who strengthens us when we’re overwhelmed by all of our responsibilities?
At the end of the book of Matthew, our Lord Jesus gave a review of His own performance. He said He’d accomplished everything He was sent to do. And because of that, His Father had given Him all authority in heaven and on earth. The next part was for us: Now go into the whole world, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching everything about Me.
No matter what our position in life, no matter what our occupation, no matter what we have already accomplished, we have a big job ahead of us. Because He is the good Leader, the good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus didn’t leave us to fend for ourselves. His final words are a comfort to us all: Don’t worry, I’m right there with you!
And I know I’m looking forward to that final review by my Lord Jesus when I hear His voice: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Master!”