Psalm 23: 5b You anoint my head with oil.
In colonial Philadelphia of the 1750’s the economy was struggling. No one seemed to have an answer to this decline. Other cities throughout the colonies were prospering. No one had a solution but Benjamin Franklin. One day he made a simple and odd suggestion: hire some street sweepers.
As it turned out, when the dust in the streets of the city got bad, people would not venture out of their homes to shop and the shop keepers were keeping their doors closed due to the dust. Franklin noted in his diary that the dust in one person’s eyes was surely an inconvenience. But dust in the eyes of everyone could seriously derail the economic and social life of the whole community.
As leaders we need to recognize the little things that can have huge disadvantages to our people or our organization. Sometimes removing something can create a better environment or advantage for people. This simple fact is needed by the shepherd. Knowing the environment and struggles in which staff is operating will help to ensure that operations run well.
We want to think that our work as shepherd leaders is always to bring resources to our people or ministry. This is intended to improve the product or environment of our people. It can help to increase productivity and make tasks more efficient or effective.
But we fail to see that many times there are people or practices that inhibit others from acting and performing at their best levels. This is when the shepherd’s instincts and watchfulness are critical in removing the ‘sandspurs’ that cause friction in the group. When this occurs and the shepherd sweeps away the irritants, the oil flows freely again. People work together and the remaining practices become more effective.