Sunday, March 01, 2015

This week's lesson (February 28 - March 6): behind the mask

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. -- III John 9f (NIV)
It's lonely at the top.

Fortunately, lonely people don't stay there very long.

That's because bright, hard-working, ambitious people soon discover their competitors are:
  • people who are not as bright, hard-working, and ambitious as themselves,
  • and people who are.
Naturally enough, members of the first group are treated as stepping-stones . . .

While members of the second are eliminated as threats.

So when those bright, hard-working, ambitious people achieve their inevitable triumph, it's no wonder they find themselves isolated . . . cut-off . . . surrounded by nothing but flunkies, doormats, and sycophants.

Naturally enough, this kind of isolation soon leads to mistakes.

Mistakes soon lead to failure.

And failure quickly opens the door for the next bright, hard-working, ambitious person who comes along.

That's why Proverbs 25-27 spends so much time talking about the biggest need of someone in power: the need to surround yourself with honest people who who can rejoice in your success . . .

But who aren't afraid to let you know when you could do better.

Yes, "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) -- and if you want to stay sharp, then you need to surround yourself with people who are just as sharp (or more so).

In short, it can be lonely at the top.

But if you want to stay there?

Make sure you aren't lonely.

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