November 19; Too Many Rules? What Is Not Mandatory Is Forbidden? MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:365 Daily Bible Verse &One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority
is rebelling against what God has instituted,
and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror
for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.
Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?
Then do what is right and you will be commended.
For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good…
Too Many Rules? What Is Not Mandatory Is Forbidden?
The story is told of the Jewish Rabi and the Presbyterian minister who were attached with Patton’s Third Army as the general’s tanks rolled across Europe in WWII. As was common among the combat clergy, they promised each other a proper burial in the French soil. This band of brothers was planning for the worse if they died in their duties.
Sadly, the Rabi was killed in action — within sight of a modest Catholic Church. The local priest said that he would care for the remains but that the Rabi could not be buried within the consecrated boundaries of the church graveyard. So according to church tradition, the Rabi was buried just outside the cemetery fence with a proper headstone.
A year later, the Presbyterian Calvinist minister, who had Huguenot blood, returns to the Church to visit the grave of his dear clergy-in-arms. He walks around the outside of the fence but cannot find the final resting place of his friend. He begins to worry.
The French Protestants had warred against the Catholic Church dating back to the 1500’s. The Huguenots believed that the Catholics were obsessed with rituals with the dead and the dying. Protestants, Catholics and Jews in the region have long memories and were not always allies.
From the rectory, the priest sees the military chaplain and walks over. They instantly recognize each other.
“Where is the Rabi’s grave?” asks the minister. “Didn’t we bury him on the outside perimeter?”
“Oui,” says the priest. “We did. But I felt uneasy having our brave friend sleep alone,” pointing to the headstone inside the church grounds.
The minister was confused.
The priest says, “True, there is a rule against burying a non-Catholic inside the grounds.” The priest’s eyes twinkle, “But there was no rule against moving the fence.”
It is not enough to have simple compliance to instructions. Managers cannot and should not give detailed instructions to every employee to cover every possible situation. The good boss does not have too many rules. Competent staff must be trained to exercise ‘appropriate action in the absence of orders’ as the army would say. Staff should be encouraged and trained to exercise wisdom and judgment.
This can be done best with inviting the staffer’s initiative and of the team knowing the mission: What is best for the organization? What does the boss intend? What does the supervisor really need? What does the boss want?
A decade goes by and the local Bishop stops by the church and visits with the priest. They take a quiet walk around the church and the silent stones. The bishop pauses by the grave marker with the Star of David and the final year 1944.
The bishop looks up and into the middle distance.
He walks on chatting with the village priest…
Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good… Romans 13:2-4a