“I Can’t Carry It For You…
…but I can carry you.”
So goes the tear-jerking line spoken by Samwise the Brave near the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
As a part of this summer’s reading list, I finally hit ultimate nerddom and read through the LOTR series for the first time…then watched the movies…then started on the new Amazon series. (And I’m sorry if I just spoiled the ending for you, but come on, man, the book is 68 years old and we’re both behind.)
Sam’s declaration to Frodo caused me to think on our posture in the way we lead, especially when those that we lead are struggling in some way: struggling with motivation, with direction, with energy, with skill.
And here’s the question I’ve wrestled with: are we taking over tasks or are we building up people?
If we’re equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, we can’t always re-absorb the burden. But we can re-cast the vision.
If a team member has a lot on their plate, we may not be able to take something off of it. But we can help them prioritize what’s most important.
If a coworker is trying to figure out what’s next, we can’t make those decisions for them. But we can call out how we see God working in them.
If a volunteer feels like they don’t have what it takes, we can’t “talk them into it.” But we can point them to the finished work of Jesus and remind them that our service is simply an overflow of his grace in us.
As leaders, we can’t always … we shouldn’t always … take over a burden. But we can always lift up our friends.