Are you ever frustrated at work? Does it sometimes feel like a waste of time? It is worth remembering how Jesus’ presence can transform situations. As leaders and change facilitators we can learn a lot from His example – it’s a theory of change.
Imagine the scene. People were crowding around Jesus by the edge of the lake. They were jostling Him so much that He asked some local fishermen who were cleaning their nets by their empty boats to take Him a little way out into the lake. When He finished teaching the crowd He asked Simon to take them out to deeper water and let down the nets. Simon agreed very reluctantly as he’d just spent a fruitless night at work. The nets were suddenly bursting with fish. (Luke 5: 1-11)
In the midst of the noisy crowds pressing in on Him, Jesus noticed the empty boats. But perhaps more significantly, He noticed “empty” people; normal people with frustrations and questions. He was not afraid of their discouragement and fears. Instead He asked them to help and gave them directions. As leaders and change agents, do we perceive what really matters or are we overwhelmed by our crowded lives with so much on our lists to do?
As a leader, Jesus spoke and taught. But He did much more. He performed a miracle in the day-to-day work lives of the fishermen. It was an unforgettable moment – an experience of Jesus in their work that transformed them and their whole direction. Jesus first took them deeper in their work, accompanying them into uncharted territory. Then He asked them to obey.
Perhaps sometimes our work seems unproductive because we remain in the shallows; because we try to do things on our own; or simply because we do not listen and obey. To experience Jesus’ transforming presence in our work we may have to go deeper; to suspend our preconceptions about what works; to be obedient to His leading. Ultimately this is more than a theory of change, it’s a theology of change.