If I had one word to describe 2019 so far it would be “stretching.”
I’m a pretty high-capacity person, but the doors the Lord has opened during this season, especially new opportunities to partner and collaborate, are far more than I seem to be able to walk through. I know it is not all dependent on me, but I have felt stretched beyond my ability to find sufficient time to connect meaningfully with key people. To deepen my knowledge of our strategy. To invest in dozens of new relationships formed during our Global Digital Summit. To set aside personal desires in order to be more available to others.
To be honest, when time is short my heart becomes impatient with those closest to me. And yet, my ability to collaborate well is directly related to having more meaningful, positive relationships. That is why I feel stretched. The stretching reveals a place my character needs to grow.
While pouring out my heart to Him, the Lord with His great sense of humor brought this passage from 1 Peter 4:7-8 to me: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”
“Keep fervent” means to love “fully stretched out.” The idea here is that we are all going to fall short of our own or others’ expectations. Sometimes we will make mistakes and sometimes we may sin. I take comfort in knowing that “loving fully stretched out” covers a multitude of sins and bad meetings.
Peter continues, exhorting us to be hospitable to one another without complaint. “Be hospitable” comes from the compound word philoxenos, or “loving strangers.” Collaboration requires me to love people who see the world differently than I do.
We know that fruitful leadership in our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world requires us to be more collaborative and partner-oriented than ever before. For me, that requires trusting God to love and serve others at full stretch.