The Every Day Leader: Around the Table

Yesterday I blocked out an hour for a lunch meeting.   The hour lunch turned into a two-hour lunch, then into a three-hour lunch.   The same was true for my lunch the next day. In fact it seems when people stop and take time to break bread together something profound happens.

The time is never wasted.

There is something magical that happens around a table, whether food is involved or simply just a cup of coffee. When you intentionally meet with someone over a meal or coffee, relationships change.  The acquaintance becomes someone you get to know, a current relationship often grows stronger and trust starts to develop.

When I was kid, I watched my parents model this.  No matter what they were doing, if someone stopped in for coffee my parents stopped and made the time to sit down and build that relationship.  It was how neighbors kept in touch.  It is how you knew what was happening with your neighbor.  It was a different way of living back then.  Today, neighbors don’t usually stop in for a cup of coffee; and we are often too busy to invite them to.

Relationships are still built by gathering around together and one of the best way to do that is around the table. 

Every day leaders have to be intentional to seek to invite others into fellowship.  We have to be willing to take the time to build relationships. If you are in the business world it is important to connect with your employees and clients. In the non-profit world it is important to get to know those that partner with you, volunteer for you, and support you in a variety of ways is vital to your success. As individuals we can intentionally reach out to a friend or neighbor and invite them to come and sit around the table for a bit.

When was the last time you took a break from your busy day and met someone for coffee?  Maybe there is someone you know who is merely an acquaintance and you would like to get to know them better.  Perhaps it is one of your employees that you sense is struggling. Maybe it is someone who has helped you bring your dreams to life. A simple cup of coffee around the table, or the simple act of breaking bread can change that relationship forever – it will bring connectedness.

We as people long to feel cared about.  We long to feel connected.  We want those around us to really know us, more than just our name. Remember the TV show ‘Cheers’?  It was the place where everyone knew your name, just as the theme song pointed out.  Something each one of long for.

Every day leaders intentionally seek to build relationships around the table. They intentionally invite and break bread and add value to others.

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The Every Day Leader: Living Life Intentionally

The innocent acts of children can teach us so many valuable lessons. I sat on the bed the other day and watched my beautiful little one and half-year old granddaughter struggle to dress herself. She insisted she could “do it herself”, no help was needed nor would she take any. I leaned back and smiled and watched her as she was so intent on accomplishing her task.

Are we any different then this precious little child as adults? Do we not still not insist on doing things ourselves and being so very independent? How often have these same thoughts run through our minds that “we don’t need anyone else?” How many times have we followed this line of thinking to the point of even shutting others out of our lives, even at the very times we need them the most? We deliberately choose to walk the long road of our journey alone instead of allowing others to come beside us and help carry the load. As I watched my granddaughter I wondered if this is really what God had in mind when He made us?

The Bible is full of references to: fellowshipping with one another, the importance of breaking bread together, the power when two or more are gathered in His name to pray, and the relief one gets to know that there is in fact someone coming along side them to help carry the burden.

Even as Christians we justify our actions of independence and act as if these very same scriptures do not apply to us.  We even take it a step further and become the king and queen of pat answers as we say we are “fine” or “all good” when asked how we are by a passerby or someone who cares and we quickly walk on or change the subject making sure that the “road closed” sign stays in place and we walk alone.

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The problem with a “road closed” sign is that life is messy and the road is often bumpy with more twists and turns then we ever wanted.  We know we desperately want someone to share the road with us but we have guarded ourselves so much that not only do we not know how to reach out; our pride often prevents the “road closed” sign from coming down.

On the flip side of this scene is the people who are so busy that they have developed tunnel vision to the hurting that are around them. They breeze through their agendas, their schedules, their to-do lists, and their day and never look up to see that there are others in this world who desperately need. They need them to be engaged, to offer a hand that helps, a listening ear, a smile, a hug, a phone call, or even a letter or card letting them know they are seen and are cared about.

It was not that long ago that we lived so very differently. Our front porches were our living rooms filled with neighbors who we knew by name. We sipped our sweet teas and lemonades and we caught up on each others day. We knew the intimate heartache of each other and we never shied away from offering a shoulder to cry on, a soothing word, a hand that helped, and we never expected anything in return.

Today we live in our perfect houses and our porches are super clean from lack of use. We drive in and out of our garages shutting the door and keeping the world at bay. We live our lives, oblivious to those around us, never even knowing who are neighbor is, their name or even who is in their family.

Being independent is not always a bad thing but when it shutouts the world, a world who desperately needs us and one that we desperately need, then it may be time we reevaluate our position and what independence really is.

Life was intended to be lived intentionally with others.To be walked side-by-side and shared with those around us, with those who care, and with those we encounter.

May we strive to live out Galatians 6:2 with all those we meet. May strive to be intentional on not shutting out those who care and love us the most.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ