Yes, I know. This is a pic from the Redwoods in Northern California, and no one needs to rake after them. But when you own a yard and a piece of land, there is an extent to which you are responsible for making sure the leaves that fall on your property do not kill the grass.
It takes responsibility that maybe you do not want to deal with, but when you deal with it, the results are that the grass that you spent a lot of time caring for and manicuring will grow more prolifically.
Raking the leaves is a really good picture of what the Teacher is made to do even if they want to select to not do it.
In an e-mail exchange with a mother in the faith, I recalled calling this principle, paralleling the Redemptive Gift of Teacher and the Third Head of Life, “not the sexiest principle”. Maybe it is because we do not think of “do the tasks that are assigned” as the most supernatural method in existence.
But it is critical for us to walk in. And bearing and breeding this principle into all of our people and practices as followers of Christ is critical for us to walk in all He has for us.
“So, David, when did this become attractive as a principle for you?”
A good question, and I will connect some dots for you here.
Hewlett-Packard’s early history helped draw me to this principle.
I will explain.
There are several items, found in this teaching that explains a grouping of businesses, that some in the circles in which I run call Onyx Businesses, that at their best, foster environments where people can tinker and experiment and adjust to get their products to a place of perfection, AND, on a global scale, influence the culture of their business and others to a place where they become responsible for executing justice in an arena of society. These companies have qualities about them that parallel the Redemptive Gift of Teacher listen in Romans 12:6-8 and about which I have discussed at length here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Thinking about the passages in Scripture that parallel the Teacher in Sequence (being the 3rd in the fractal of 7), Genesis 1 brings out the Third Day, in which the dry land and vegetation is created. Being very simplistic, when the leaves fall in autumn, a mess naturally happens. Piles of leaves everywhere that can kill the grass if those leaves are left in place. So we take up the responsibility to rake up those leaves and bag them.
In Hewlett-Packard, David Packard and BIll Hewlett pursued a vision beyond the profit motive:
In 1949, David Packard, attended a gathering of business leaders. As the day wore on, Packard became increasingly frustrated with the parochial, small-minded perspective of his fellow CEOs. Peering down from his 6′ 5″ frame, the 37 year-old Packard voiced a contrary view: A company has a responsibility beyond making a profit for stockholders; it has a responsibility to recognize the dignity of its employees as human beings, to the well-being of its customers, and to the community at large. Packard later reflected in a 1964 Colorado College commencement speech: “I was surprised and shocked that not a single person at that meeting agreed with me. While they were reasonably polite in their disagreement, it was quite evident they firmly believed I was not one of them, and obviously not qualified to manage an important enterprise.”
Hewlett and Packard rejected the idea that a company exists merely to maximize profits. “I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money,” Packard extolled to a group of HP managers on March 8, 1960. “While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper to find the real reasons for our being.” He then laid down the cornerstone concept of the HP Way: contribution. Do our products offer something unique—be it a technical contribution, a level of quality, a problem solved—to our customers? Are the communities in which we operate stronger and the lives of our employees better than they would be without us? Are people’s lives improved because of what we do? If the answer to any these questions is “no,” then Packard and Hewlett would deem HP a failure, no matter how much money the company returned to its shareholders.
Most entrepreneurs pursue the question “How can I succeed?” From day one, Packard and Hewlett pursued a different question: “What can we contribute?” and thereby HP attained extraordinary success. This success, in turn, enabled them to invest even more in making a contribution, which produced even greater success, which led to increased contribution, which created even greater success. This virtuous cycle eventually enabled Packard and Hewlett to personally contribute at levels far beyond what they would have dared to imagine as young men. In 1995, Packard attended a dinner at Stanford University. Former engineering dean Jim Gibbons mentioned to Packard that, by his rough calculation, he and Hewlett had donated on a present-value basis as much to Stanford as Jane and Leland Stanford had given to fund the university. As Gibbons related in the June 1996 issue of Stanford magazine, Packard showed something he rarely allowed: a moment of visible pride. It passed quickly, and all Packard said was, “That’s very interesting.” Later, upon his death, Packard bequeathed nearly all of his $5.6 billion estate to a charitable foundation.From the forwaard to “The HP Way”, written by Jim Collins
If you see the capacity of the business to move beyond the profit motive to work with transforming and caring for their employees and the outside culture, then you would see some things that caused HP, as an Onyx (Teacher) company to shine.
We move from merely taking care of ourselves to getting married, having kids, establishing a profession, maybe leading a company, a church, a nation, an army, or a club, to expanding and bettering at least some part of society.
This is kingdom economy. Sustainable, responsible impact on something greater than ourselves.
One thing for which HP was known for, was hiring and retaining a workforce of tinkerers. There are stories of HP employees in the early days having side projects at home that they were working on, and that discretionary time is necessary for tinkering in order to increase overall tinkering. And with HP, who had access to various expensive tech tools, they would loan out those tools to their employees for brief periods so they could use them on their tinker projects at home.
That curious tinkering streak leads to perfection, which is the gift of a Teacher company, characterized many a Teacher company like HP. Rolls Royce was another example. Sir Henry Royce would take his engineers onto the beach and draw pictures and diagrams and they would figure out how to unpack a series of problems that led them to engineer automotive….perfection. In a Teacher company, the Product of Perfection has a thousand different facets.
And creating tinkerers multiplies creativity, however expensive that process may be.
Employee Care Through An Environment of Trust
What that loaning out of tools and other manifestations of this behavior in the company cultured created was this: an environment of trust. The company sowed in trust to its employees, and in return, reaped much.
I will say it again, a bit differently now; HP, before the unions, cultivated an environment of trust.
In one story, someone had checked out a very expensive piece of equipment from the comapny for a tinkering project, and locked the cage that led to the tool room. Bill or Dave found out about this when they went to check out another tool, and, frustrated with the lock, cut the lock with a pair of bolt cutters, go the needed tool, and left a note saying something to the effect of “Do not ever lock this cage again.”
One other aspect of this in HP. They refused to make college students, who needed additional training, sign forms promising to work for the company for a series of years after HP paid for their training. That is, after trainning was paid for, the employees were free to leave and work for a competitor. The idea was that the company was so confident that employees would stick around based on how the company treated its employees that they didn’t need to create barriers to leaving.
This sort of thing is virtually unheard-of these days. And that trust sown, coupled with a competitive salary and benefits package, led to people who were loyal to the company, and that loyalty created a bulkhead so strong that unions were never an issue for the company as long as that culture was in place.
It was only when the trust eroded, and the responsibility shrank that unions encroached on the comapny.
Cultivating Responsibility That Effects Social Transformation
Some people hate the term social justice, especially because they hate a particular political party, but Isaiah and the L-rd of Hosts were zealous for justice being brought to various people groups in various seasons. And Teachers were made to skillfully execute and expound how to carry out a burden for a segment of society. Anisha Cruz, anyone (she knows of what I speak)?
The question I have to ask of each of you in the tribe, especially those who spend inordinate amounts of time asking G-d to intervene when you are doing disproportionately little to unpack what He has already given you is this. “Are each of the spheres in which you are involved increasing or decreasing as a result of your action. Not His action. Your action. Are you taking on responsibilities that you may not have been directly assigned by someone, but you know (through your zeal or burden) that you are supposed to take those burdens, causes, or assignments up and make an impact that will outlast you.
Teachers are one of the three generational gifts, along with Givers and RJD’s with the capacity to impact and reproduce at a greater rate in their descendants than the other four gifts (Prophet, Servant, Exhorter, and Mercy).
When you take on a measure (not in insane amount that you cannot handle, but rather an amount that is a STRETCH FOR YOU but you can manage with execution) of responsibility that was not yours to begin with, and G-d and man may not have assigned you that responsibility, but you see a facet of that topic to which the rest of society is blind, but is something for which you have a vision, then life will be the result.
And for those who choose the responsibility that leads to life, the one thing to the exclusion of many other good things, to them will belong some of the hidden manna.
Picture of Responsibility: Samuel
Samuel, who was not in the bloodline for the priesthood as a Levite, of the tribe of Ephraim, took up the priesthood after Eli and judged Israel.
He took on a responsiblity that was not his in his office of priest, because Eli had abandoned his office. And Samuel was what G-d had to work with.
Samuel judged Agag, because Saul refused to stepped into his office and responsibility to execute.
Responsibility is what leads to the unusual execution. Responsibility is the execution of mishpat where G-d has orchestrated it to happen. And we can partner with G-d to effect change.
So, in the area of responsibility, I have an assignment for us.
What is one thing that you want to happen that you are zealous for that no one has taken up the responsibility for, that you have the tools to execute on, and that you know will result in something that will increase the kingdom of G-d?
It could be that that one thing is one thing G-d has for you, because either no one else sees the problem, or, if they see it, they think “not it!”.
Just some thoughts here, gang.
Samuel’s responsiblity was not the priesthood by bloodline, but at that time G-d had no one else and Samuel was set apart.
Gang, it is time for us to stop making excuses as to why we are not doing the things.
And it is time for us to try some things out that may be a stretch.
The Principle of Responsibilty is the “last stand on earth” principle. (Relevant timestamp below is 2:30-3:30, and putting aside the politics of the 1964 election, focus on the principles here)
The Principle of Responsibility is the wall of the Kingdom that protects it from enemies foreign and domestic.
The Principle of Responsibility is the meat, heart, and bedrock that causes us to do something.
Take your stand, gang, and do your thing, whatever that thing that you may have avoided for days, weeks, months, or even years. You have a responsibility.
And realize that, in order to have life, you have to have the willingness and the testes or ovaries to fight. Jump into the fray and strap your sword or tool belt, and cause the battle to be joined.