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Institutional loyalty is admirable and deserves development and encouragement. But it can easily rate ahead of a loyalty and concern for fellow workers.

 
Resources: LLM Archives
For nearly a century, Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship assisted, inspired and trained congregations in important ways. LLM ceased operations on May 31, 2003, but the Stewardship of Life Institute is proud to continue its work by making its web resources available to a new generation of stewards.

 

Stewardship of People

By Glen Holmquist

 A business executive heard a message at a worship service by a visiting speaker. He approached the guest after the service with this: “That was good. I think I can use you.”

Of course, the speaker thought of the appropriate response on the way home!! The sticky word is “USE”.

Are we guilty? Do we consciously “use” people to achieve our personal and corporate objectives? Could it be that bottom-line pressures push leadership to a “use people” attitude and mind-set?

A retired executive had this reflection in a recent written communication:
“It comes clear to me that interest in the institution comes before an interest in the people.”

It is fair to conclude that our culture has a nasty tendency to LOVE the institution and USE the people? Whoa!!! – Should it not be the other way round?

One corporate body had a three-point guideline of “People – Product – Service.” Another company said it this way: “Product – Price – Service.” Take your choice.

A legendary quotation from Andrew Carnegie is appropriate for this matter:
“Take away all the money, machines and equipment, but leave my people in place – and in two years I will have it all back.”

Institutional loyalty is admirable and deserves development and encouragement. But it can easily rate ahead of a loyalty and concern for fellow workers. The institution can swallow up the “risk” and “emotion” of people relationships. We can “hide” and “slip by” in the vast machinery of an institution.

To “step out” and “speak up” is a people thing. Leaders do that, and they encourage others to follow suit when the cause is just and has integrity.

People power over institutional influence. LOVE the people, USE the institution. One is “warm and willowy.” The other is “cold and brittle.”

Go with the people. Do not “use” them. Just “love” them. It is the “better way.”

Glen Holmquist wrote this for the Spring 1997 edition of Faith in Action. He retired after serving for 12 years as Assistant to the Bishop, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, and 10 years on the regional stewardship staff of the LCA.