Yesterday was Pentecost, a day in which we celebrate the gift and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Today, while scanning for a book to use for spiritual reflection, I spotted and picked up Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership by James Sipe and Don Frick, and noticed a sticky note near the middle of the book. It located where I had left off years ago in examining foresight. Many challenging and encouraging comments in this section waited for perceptive inquirers to find and examine them, and comments on some of these will emerge later in this post.
First, consider the foresight demonstrated by Jesus and missed by later followers. His teachings and actions painted a picture of a vision of all people being right with God and with each other. He knew that many of the techniques used by people in power would not work. His foresight knew that making people behave in certain ways produced mostly resentment and cunning in finding ways around coercion. He knew that bribery produced scheming and devaluation of the ones offering the bribes. Children retain little respect for parents who bribe them all the time, and employees show little respect for employers who rely on bribes to shape behaviour. Jesus knew that fame is truly fleeting. He chose to live respect and compassion and to call out attitudes and behaviours that failed to respect right relationships. His foresight continues to shape the church today as in faith we and millions of other people choose to be compassionate and to work with right relationships with others. The main gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples was getting them to understand what h was doing.
The authors identified Foresight as the fifth pillar of servant leadership and examined how to achieve foresight and recognize it. It is seeing what is desirable and achievable, even when logic denies it. They cite examples of the, “if you build it, they will come,” process. Several insights and discoveries were included in this section that I will put into short blogs. Here vision takes precedence.
A great vision … invites us into a great and worthy shared enterprise; paints a picture of a brighter future that connects to our deepest identity; excites with unlimited possibilities; and lures us forward to action with its compelling power. (page 120)
A soaring vision answers the following questions: “Who are we?” “Whom do we serve?” “How will we serve them?”
Pentecost played a role in opening the early community to thousands of new followers of Jesus. I am hoping that our shared foresight and vision will open the way to thousands of non-church people to find connections through our future ministries, guided by the Holy Spirit.