Thursday, February 11, 2010

Giving up the Good

I met with the person who is the executor of Gary's estate this evening.  She has a holographic will that Gary wrote out a few weeks ago.  She is also intimately involved with his interfaith ministry and the Shelter I am supposed to take over. 

I told her I'm not the person to take over Gary's ministry to the men.  I've been involved with them and the ministry for a couple years, but I'm not a "program administrator".  After a lot of soul searching I came to the conclusion that I don't have a "passion" for the ministry.  It was hard to admit that to myself because Gary wanted me to replace him and it was an honor that he thought so highly of me.  But I came to the conclusion that the flattery of being thought highly of and being the right person for a particular ministry are two different things.

I worked with recovering and ex this and thats for over 20 years through my construction company and basically gave it up over a decade ago when I went bankrupt.  Its kind of,  "Been there, done that and moved on to other things now."  While I have experience with addicts and ex-cons, at this point in my life I want to help people as a Christian, but I don't want to do it as a "program".  I give alms and help people, but I don't want to be married to it as a "job".  I know myself and I am not a "program administrator" nor an "executive director".  I don't have and never have had any interest in "alms as programs", paperwork, accounting, schedules, schmoozing, fundraising, newsletters, corporate board meetings and filing cabinets. My gift is sitting down with the men and conducting a recovery meeting or talking to them one on one. I'm not a "leader", I'm an adjunct helper.  It is a great opportunity to get out of construction, but as much as construction hurts, I'd do more harm than good to the program and to the men if I took it over even partly just to get out of doing sheetrock pushing sixty years old.  The bottom line is, I'd rather lift sheetrock than file a corporate tax return.

So I'm giving up "the good"... hopefully for the sake of doing what is better for the sake of the men and Gary's vision for his program.

I met with the men tonight.  I told them this is a sad time for sure. I told them no one can replace Gary in their lives and no one should. I told them I'll be taking care of things for now but there will be a new person taking over the program and when that happens there will probably be some changes. I told them this is still a program for their recovery.  Even though Gary is gone they still need to focus on their sobriety, growing in Christ and becoming what Gary wished for them, his death is not an excuse for using or falling off the wagon... the rules of the house are still in effect. 

The Executor and the Board will begin the search for a new Director immediately.  In the interim I will hold down the fort with the help of a couple of other people who are also familiar with the Shelter. 

May it be blessed. 


James the Thickheaded said...

Hard call but to make; courageous to explain. Hard temptations to resist, too, whether you look at the temptation as serving, or not.

As I'm reading Met. Anthony like nothing else these days, he decided early on that choosing between surgery and "care" he liked and found more distinctive the relationship part of the latter better. The former seemed just like so much "technique" to him.

So there's good precedence - if that helps. Best!

Unknown said...

You are a wise and knowledgeable man to know your limitations and refrain from seeking glory where you know it would create problems. I have encountered several people who do not have gifts for the ministries in which they are involved, yet they will not give up those ministries because of the earthly glory the ministries seem to provide them.

Your take on all this reminds of C.S. Lewis's advice to Sheldon Vanauken in a Severe Mercy. After converting, Vanauken toys with the ideas of becoming a priest in the Anglican Church, and Lewis warns him to examine the real reasons he wants to do such a thing and lays out the dangers inherent in such a position.

I would love to do more fundraising for the Orthodox faith, but I think at the end of the day, such work becomes a hindrance to me because I would end up dealing with people who are not religious in the way I think they should be, and this would create problems for me. I am beginning to think I am a better witness of Christ by going about my general, daily business.

elizabeth said...

Yes this is hard and a hard decision to make; but I am actually glad to hear of it, as I was not sure if this would be the best for you; I just had that sense of things though I only know you via blogland as they say...

May the right person come for the job and indeed may it be blessed.