By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
The concept of servant leadership is a popular approach when talking about leadership theory. From an educational setting to a hospital system to a mammoth corporation, the idea of the leader serving or giving service to subordinates is appealing.
Service is a big word. Isaiah in the Old Testament was called to serve and he was willing to do so. Isaiah wrote in the book in the Old Testament that carries his name: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying ‘Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I; send me.’”
How is that pertinent to us today?
Many times when the children were small, we would spend a week or weekend at church camp in Glorieta near Santa Fe.
During one of our stays, we decided to do some exploring.
We walked through the dense pine trees that were so plentiful and discovered things that my three children really got excited about.
We collected an assortment of rocks, twisted twigs, dried leaves, flowers, Indian “artifacts” (so said Annie) and rocks with “neat green stuff on them.” All along the way, we gathered pine cones that had fallen to the ground and put them in a paper sack.
I had all sorts of grand and creative ideas for those pine cones. I thought about Christmas decorations, or decorating Christmas packages with them. I could see table arrangements with burning candles giving off the scents of Christmas. I pictured wreaths that were breathtakingly beautiful. I thought the possibilities limitless.
Summer passed and my creative juices ran out when school started. As a result, the pine cones sat all fall and winter drying out in a paper sack among the clutter in our garage.
Thanksgiving came and then Christmas passed. Cold and windy January nights caused us to buy a cord of wood to burn in the fireplace. One cold night we looked for something to kindle the fire.
Charlie mentioned the pine cones and said they would be a great “fire starter.” So I rescued them from their corner. We put them in the fireplace under the logs and lit a few. Tiny flames appeared and soon they burned brightly. In a short time, we had a blazing fire because the larger logs had caught the fire from the little insignificant pine cones.
Those little pine cones that were seemingly useless proved to be serviceable and valuable.
Sometimes I think I have no gifts and I know that I am lacking in real talent. Yet, I think about those pine cones and I remember that God can use anyone — even me.
Any of us might be the vehicle of encouragement to someone else that in turn encourages someone else. That encouragement just may be the spark that another person needs to carry them through the day or even on through the week.
If God commits his work to men and women there on Earth, then we are the instruments he must use. No matter how useless we may think our abilities may be, God promises us that when we give of ourselves and serve others, the possibilities are really limitless.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org