So I went into the garage and asked the man, “Have you got a fuel cap for my Skoda?”
And the man thought for a moment and said, “Sounds like a fair swap!”
I wonder if you’ve come across that joke before? Skoda cars used to be the butt of jokes that were based on their build quality, style, reliability, cheapness and so on. But nowadays these jokes are redundant. Skoda come top in surveys about customer satisfaction.
The reason is that they were taken over by Volkswagen about 20 years ago and have adopted their parent company’s values about style and quality. They have undergone a transformation since they became under new management.
Christians often describe ourselves as being under new management – followers of Jesus. But have we really adopted the new management’s values? Are we willing to be transformed? Can you imagine what would have happened to Skoda if they had refused to change?
(In case you are wondering, no I have not taken on a job as a Skoda salesperson. But I have joined the ranks of Skoda drivers… starting on Saturday.)
Delegating is difficult. If we ask someone to do something we need to make sure that we provide them with the resources to do it, that they have the skills and ability needed to do it, and that they will be able to complete the task within the time scale needed. And there’s the distinct likelihood that the person to whom a task has been delegated will do things differently to the way we would have done it. Delegation requires a degree of oversight, encouragement and support and the temptation can be to do things ourselves because it can take a lot of effort to delegate successfully.
But if we don’t delegate we limit what can be achieved to our own skills and ability, resources and available time. And we also deprive someone else of the opportunity to contribute and to have a sense of accomplishment at the end of it. We limit what can happen to the limits of our own imagination.
Recently I asked someone to design something for our church. I gave a working idea to them, parameters for the design and asked them to produce something. I am so glad I did that rather than trying to do it myself. What they have produced is way beyond anything I would have conceived. It’s brilliant.
The outcome is not only that the church will have something new and special to offer people who are newcomers, not only that I have had the opportunity to thank someone and that it has used someone’s gifts, but also that they have had the chance to use their amazing gifts as an act of worship.
Delegating is not easy. It can be risky. But I suspect that many of the occasions when I have delegated and it has not gone well it is perhaps more down to me not delegating well and failing to support / oversee helpfully rather than failure on the part of the person to whom I have delegated.
Of course Jesus has taken the risk of delegating the task of telling people the good news about him to us, the church. He offers support, encouragement, advice and enhances our gifts through his Spirit…