Equipping Others - The Madness of a Fool

Definition of Fool

n. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.

n. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion.


There have been some 'given' occasions when I found myself a shining example of both of these definitions — "acting unwisely on a given occasion with a deficient judgment, sense, or understanding."

When I was a young lad, my mother always taught me to leave things in a better state than how I found them - make it easier for the next person that comes along. I usually try to practice wherever I am, whether at work or in a hotel room; I try not to leave a mess. This can apply to our relationships as well. How many of you know that when we interact with someone, we can leave them in a better emotional state, or kind of a mess. It depends on what we say and do in the situation.

In talking about the subject of equipping other people, I view this from a broader scope. It's not just about my teams at work - I want it to bleed into my personal life with my family, friends, and people I know. But it's more than that. I want to leave anyone I meet in a better condition than they were when we met, even if that interaction is just a few moments. Think of being at the checkout in a store or speaking to a rep or solicitor on the phone. How can I leave that person feeling better about their day?

I had an interaction just the other day - and it didn't go so well. There was an overdue bill, but I didn't receive any billing or a call warning me that it was going to collections, and that's precisely where it ended up. My goal was not to complain. Well, to be honest, I guess it was to complain - about their process.

I'm on the phone with Tina from the accounting department. Have you ever spoken with someone reading from a script and tried to get them off-script to answer a question? Tina kept telling me to refer to the payment policy on my bill. I kept telling her that I don't have one.

After about 5 minutes, I was getting pretty frustrated. "Tina, I don't have a bill with the policy." I felt like I was talking to an automated machine with only one response; now that I think about it, maybe I was.

In the end, I had to give up on my goal of changing their policy. I almost got off the call unscathed when Tina said, "Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

I said, "Yes, I don't like your demeanor and lack of effective communication - and then I hung up in a huff.

That is not an excellent example of communication and equipping. Here is Tina, probably on the phone all day listening to all kinds of excuses as to why a bill didn't get paid. Then irritable H Mark gets on the line and thinks he is going to fix their accounting process. First, it's an unrealistic expectation, and I probably just wanted to vent my frustration because my billing went to a collections agency.

What could I have done to leave Tina in a better state?

What if we began to look for opportunities to equip other people? Who do we know? A significant other, a friend, a spouse, a child, a relative, a co-worker. Who do we interact with daily? When we go into a store like Lowes, Walmart, Sam's, Menards, Home Depot, you name it. When I walk up to the checkout counter, there is an opportunity to have an interaction. A frustrating phone call or conversation. How will I leave that person today? Better than before or worse?

I'll give you one more situation with a more positive outcome. We recently lost one of our German Shepherd dogs to aging. You might think, well, it's just a dog. But when you spend ten years with them, and then they pass, it turns out it's not just a dog; they're your best buddy. So, I'm sending out some emails to people in our area who breed shepherds, and I get this reply from Kathy:

"We have no dogs for sale; I'm down to one dog. I am in the hospital with Covid - Kathy."

I could have replied, Oh, Ok, thanks, and left it at that. But I thought, How can I leave Kathy with some encouragement? So I responded in this way:

"Oh, No, Kathy! I'm so sorry to hear this. My cousin is in the same situation in the hospital. We will be praying for you."

What if we began to actively seek opportunities to invest in other people? Could we change the world? We could certainly change Our world.

“Be wise in the way you act toward people; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬


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