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The Hidden Danger of Clarity

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 CORINTHIANS 13:12)

The apostle Paul wrote that we see God and His plans for our lives like looking through a dark glass. Think about that as a leader…and think about how profound—and unsettling—that is. I wonder if American Christians—because of our thousands of options and choices and incredibly wealthy lives compared to the vast majority of the world—believe that “clarity” and “measured outcomes” are an inalienable right. Perhaps some of us even carry that entitlement into our spiritual leadership. But Paul infers that not everything is going to be super clear now. Someday Jesus will come and we’ll see and know fully and deeply. But for now the window is a bit foggy…and Covid isn’t helping. We may know a few things about God’s leadership plan for our churches now; we get a prophetic word here…a little word of knowledge there…and we do our best to piece it together with the best counsel we can find. But it’s typically on the other side of a real move of God that we really see the beauty and power of God’s plans. In his book Ruthless Trust, author Brennan Manning wrote:

“When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at the house of the dying’ in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, ‘And what can I do for you?’ Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “‘What do you want me to pray for?’ she asked. … ‘Pray that I have clarity.’ “She said firmly, ‘No, I will not do that.’ When he asked her why, she said, ‘Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.’ When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, ‘I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.’”

Of course God gives leaders vision. But how it will ultimately turn out is His business. Your job as a leader is to love God, love others, listen to His whispers, inspire action, and pray to get out of the way. I wish I could say everything I did as a leader was perfectly clear, but that would be terribly disingenuous. How much trust would be needed if we did have total clarity? And apparently without faith (re: trust) it's impossible to please God. Sometimes I wonder if the times I worried most whether something would be successful or not were the moments the least was achieved. As a leader, where are you on the "clarity/trust" scale?



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