Food for Thought: Informed Wisdom
by Ardith Hoff
There was a great rowing race between a team of wise people and a team of foolish people. The wise people won by a mile. So the foolish people hired an expert to figure out what went wrong. He reported that the wise people had one person steering and eight people rowing, while they had eight people steering and only one person rowing.
“Aha,” said the foolish people who immediately restructured their team: Now they had one senior manager, seven management consultants and one rower. In the rematch, the wise people won by two miles!
After further intensive consultations, the foolish people fired their rower!
While we can all see the flaw in the foolish people’s reasoning, we don’t always recognize the flaws when we are part of the group. We’ve all belonged to organizations that are “steered” by one person or a group at the top who make all of the decisions for the whole group and we feel that we are left alone to do the “rowing” and that when things don’t go well, we are the ones who will be blamed.
Democratic principles do not always apply in business or even in churches. While it is important that everyone work together to accomplish common goals, it is also important for the rank and file to have a say in how the race will be run. When we are given a chance to have a voice, or a vote, we take ownership of the race and we feel not only an obligation to fully participate, but also feel we have a real stake in the outcome.
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 24:3-6
We need to acknowledge God as the pilot of our “boat”, and we know that we all have to be involved in carrying out God’s plans. In a church where members of the congregation are all “rowing” together, the race to transform the world can be won.