Almost 2 years ago, I returned home to find that our beautiful 150 year old oak tree had given way in the wind and a huge branch was laying on the house. There was siding damage, gutter damage, likely roof structure damage, and the list goes on. I was initially shocked, then heart broken that this sprawling tree stood strong for so long and yet, had a secret. There was rot which could not be seen at casual glance. I spent some time reflecting on the spiritual metaphor of the picture.
I wondered if there were issues in my life which were easily ignored but would create a crack one day when pressures and stress pressed hard against me. Is there some “secret rot” in my soul making me vulnerable to failure? I asked the Lord to show me things I needed to address and repent from.
I wondered if there were issues in my leadership style which might give way and crush elements of the movement of churches I was seeking to cultivate. These churches are like my home in some ways. Would my “leadership rot” have a nasty consequence on them? I prayed asking the Lord to help me become a better leader.
As I was looking at the tree with the tree removal service it was clear to me that he was an expert in truth telling. He let me know some of the flower beds were going to be ruined by removal equipment. He let me know that there could be additional damage when they craned the tree off my house. He was a straight shooter. I wondered about times when I am called into situations where hard words need to be said clearly, bluntly, and lovingly. Could I rise to that needed role? I asked the Lord to give me courage to say what needed to be said when others might skirt the issues.
This fallen tree became a leadership development and personal reflection time for me. I thanked God that not only had no one been hurt by the tree but that also he used the reflection time to teach me about myself. The afternoon was a good time of growth and development.
3 Questions to ask yourself to make sure there is no hidden rot.
Do I have secret habits which if left unchallenged will evolve into serious problems which will negatively impact my ministry? Ask God to open your eyes to see clearly areas of vulnerabilities.
Do I have habits in my leadership which could negatively damage the people I aim to spiritually lead if and when life and ministry gets full throttle? It could be a quick temper or jealousy of others or any number of seedling issues hidden in your soul. Pray for God’s mercy to build accountability into your life so there are safety mechanisms preventing immaturity from damaging those you love.
Finally, ask yourself “who in my life is a truth teller that I can depend upon to speak words others may not have the courage to say?” We all need truth telling friends who have our best interest in mind to such a degree that they would risk offending us with hard words. Ask God to give you a truth teller who you can develop trust with and cultivate accountability in relationship.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!