Diplomatic Notes

Show up and be faithful

In The Bahamas, we have many people who are good at talking, and good at complaining, but when needed in crunch time, they are often missing in action. It is amazing that the people who sometimes complain the loudest are also the most unreliable and unfaithful people. On many talk shows, we hear armchair quarterbacks directing the offense and second guessing the ones who are really in the game. These people never have to produce their credentials or account for their own history, but from the sound of it, you would think these are people with impeccable track records. Yet, many of these same people have nothing to show off their real-life contributions. They have been able to talk successfully about others, but when you dig into their lives, they cannot talk about their own.

Why is it that so many people have answers for others but the answers they are providing are ones they have never used in their own lives? The problem with many such people is that they have a missing ingredient in their lives and that main ingredient is faithfulness to anything. We live in a country where many want the benefits of a job but not the responsibility of actually showing up every day and doing their job faithfully. I have heard many employers complain about the unfaithfulness of workers. I hear the complaint so often, it is almost like there is a disease that exists. Not only have I heard it from others – I have also experienced it over the years. This “disease” has had and is having an adverse effect on the success of our country.

As an employer, I have had instances where employees do not show up for work, do not call, or ask someone to call at the last minute with a contrived excuse. They do not consider the ramifications of their actions on the ability of the employer to pay them, but they expect that paycheck on time. Sometimes, my manager would send staff out on assignment and they would go somewhere else, and we would not find out what happened until the customers call and say ‘we are cancelling your contract’. Then, when we asked why, they would say, ‘your people do not show up when they are supposed to’. How can an employee know they are assigned to a job, know what time they are supposed to be there, know the consequences of not being there and still not show up?

This is an example of the missing ingredient of faithfulness. The most important quality before any other skill, gift, or talent is showing up and being faithful. Do you possess the missing ingredient or are you one of those people who fail to show up when needed? I remember one occasion where we had a big job, and everyone was excited, and as everyone arrived for this new job and opportunity, there was a glaring absence. The main person who was needed did not show up and called and said something came up, so they could not make it. Everyone else depended upon this person and they waited until the day of the job for something to come up.

One of the things I have always prided myself on is that I will show up. If I don’t show up, I call well in advance and make certain alternative arrangements are in place. I showed up for 20 years every Friday night for a job I was not even being paid for until 10 years in. When I hear people complain about some of the trivial things that prevent them from doing their job, I want to ask them to visit my shoes for a few months.

It is not only employees who are unfaithful – sometimes the employers are just as bad or worse than the employees. They fail to communicate with employees, fail to live up to agreements, find ways to underpay and ask employees to work in unreasonable conditions. It is not an employee or employer thing, it’s a human problem that has the same result every time and everywhere you find it. Unfaithfulness kills in every environment.

It is important to have skill. It is important to have talent. You are supposed to get paid for your work. You are supposed to have an expectation of people doing their job. But if faithfulness is missing, it can derail the best of organizations, relationships, businesses and, in fact, any vocation or project. Faithfulness is the ingredient that if it’s missing, it can kill everything else around it no matter how noble or exciting. Make sure you do not show up for life without the missing ingredient.

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to
pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange. 

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