They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
Appeasing is not necessarily a bad thing. If it calms anger, eases fear, or soothes pain we may vote for it. But if we placate what is wrong it will be to our own peril.
It is not uncommon today to find supervisors who would rather tolerate mediocrity than risk offending the substandard leader by administering discipline or corrective action. While appeasing a weak leader may accomplish temporary peace, over time it rots the very guts of an organization. First, it demeans those who uphold high standards. Second, it communicates satisfaction with the leader who is unsatisfactory. Third, it encourages those who watch persistent tolerance to themselves become tolerant. Fourth, it reveals insecurity and perhaps cowardice in the supervisor unwilling to take corrective action. Fifth, it prolongs problems which eventually will lead to an organization’s undoing. As Winston Churchill said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.”
Titus 3:9-11—But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.
Guards stopped us at the entrance to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ho Chunk and checked our IDs before allowing my Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and me to walk unarmed into the camp where several units were assigned. As we inspected the premises we saw unmade beds and gear strewn haphazardly inside tents. Soldiers walked by us out of uniform. At one point I ducked inside a tent and noticed several unsecured weapons. I grabbed an M16 and slung it on my shoulder. As we continued observing, warning sirens sounded and a quick response force rushed by us to meet a notional threat. I wondered what soldier was running around trying to find what happened to his M16! The captain in charge of the FOB (known as the mayor) approached us and spoke to us for several minutes. Amazingly he completely missed the fact that I was carrying a rifle—not something generals do.
There is an insightful television program called Undercover Boss. Each episode, the owner or CEO of a company is disguised and then works for several days with different employees with differing responsibilities. Often the boss is inept at the tasks the employee is to teach him which puts pressure on him to do better. As he works with each selected person he also finds out what life is like in their shoes. Some are struggling financially or dealing with challenges that make life difficult.
On August 10, 1628, King Gustav Adolf was away on business when the Vasa set sail. The 69 meter-long warship was built to be a key asset for the Swedish Navy during its war with Poland. At the time of its commissioning the ship was ornately decorated and armed with the largest concentration of artillery in the world. Henrik Hybertsson supervised her construction but unfortunately was handicapped by size and gun requirements King Adolf demanded. Unable to dissuade the king from rushing its production, the ship was precariously top heavy combined with insufficient ballast on its lowest deck. Unfortunately, Captain Söfring Hansson ordered its launch. The large craft sailed for less than a nautical mile before tipping and sinking. Historians believe 30-50 people drowned.
As I was leaving my office not long ago, an amusing sight caught my eyes. Three workers and one supervisor were laboring over a small rhododendron carefully trimming its leaves. Every Thursday, this crew handles the landscaping chores for our chapel, office and surrounding grounds. But while it was funny to see so many adults working on one bush, it was also sad. Kim, one of our counselors, recently shared how much the farmers are impacted this year by the lack of migrant workers to pick their fields. A bumper crop of strawberries is poorly harvested because there are not enough laborers. When I asked Kim why this situation exists she explained that many migrant workers no longer pick fruit because they are able to find jobs that are much easier (i.e. fast-food establishments) with better pay. In addition, fewer workers came north this year because the government is more stringent in blocking illegal entries.
Sarah is preparing to go on a missions trip to Cameroon, Africa for two months. Through the generosity of a company that sells footwear, she was given a pair of Danner boots made of leather and Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is a durable substance that allows the skin to breathe yet is waterproof. Unfortunately, the directions from the mission organization were explicit that only all-leather boots were acceptable.
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single day in the history of the United States. On September 17, 1862, 23,110 casualties littered the ground fought between Confederate and Union Armies. Antietam is a small river in the state of Maryland close to West Virginia and Pennsylvania. As I walked the battleground today, I could not help but think of all of the lives lost and the folly of a leader who could have ended the Civil War but instead prolonged it.
The uniform can be a source of great inspiration or it can be the veneer of tyranny it all depends on the heart of the one clothed. There is a man who cannot advance in his job. His ability to move up in his organization is stifled by the hands of a Napoleon-pretender, one with an insecurity complex too radioactive to handle. Perhaps you know the type?
CPT Bob climbed the tower. His soldiers were there to rappel off the tall wooden platform. At the top he inspected the training and noticed that the end of one of the ropes was improperly anchored with a simple granny knot. So he pointed out to the Lieutenant, Officer in Charge (OIC), the problem. The LT disagreed, said the knot was fine and ordered Bob off the tower. By rights as the OIC he could do so. Bob reminded him that safety was everyone’s responsibility and that he would not allow his soldiers to go down under such unsafe conditions. Again, the LT told him to leave. After more heated words, Bob descended the stairs and walked over to the nearest phone to report an unsafe condition. While he was on the phone, one of his soldiers leaning over the edge shrieked as his rope came loose. He fell straight to the ground. Today that injured soldier remains a quadriplegic.