Tag Archives: Joash

Wrong Person for the Job

Wrong Person for the Job (CaD 2 Ki 12) Wayfarer

The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.
2 Kings 12:8 (NIV)

Many years ago I had a colleague at work who falsified data for a major client project. It was an egregious mistake that cost us what might have been a lucrative client relationship. The reason he did this was not criminal, but personal. He didn’t want to do the work. In fact, it was clear to me that his actions were basically a cry for help. He was in the wrong job, a job he couldn’t stand and for which he was ill-suited, with a boss he greatly respected and didn’t want to disappoint pushing him daily like a square peg into a round hole.

After being caught, my colleague was greatly ashamed. He did the work he’d fail to do. I and another colleague were brought in to assist, oversee, and do our best to smooth things over with the client. In the end, we responded the best we could but, understandably, we never worked for the client again.

My boss called me to inform me that he had chosen to forgive our colleague and that he was not going to fire him, but give him another opportunity. It was, perhaps, the most contentious argument I ever had with him. I told him that he was making a mistake. I argued that our colleague didn’t want to do the job. It didn’t fit his strengths or passions and it was killing him inside. Firing him was not only the right thing to do for our business, but it was also the best thing we could do for our colleague who needed to be freed to follow his gifts and passions to a job that was a better fit for him. I felt so strongly about it that I threatened to quit. My boss said that as a follower of Jesus, he had no choice but to extend forgiveness and grace and let our colleague keep his job. I countered that we did need to graciously forgive him, but to keep him in a job that he clearly was not suited for was only going to perpetuate the problem. I quoted the ancient proverb says: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool to his folly.”

In the end, our argument was moot. Our colleague packed up his things and simply disappeared.

This came to mind this morning as I read about King Joash of Judah. The Temple in Jerusalem needed to be repaired, and King Joash created a plan for raising the money and tasking the priests with making the necessary repairs. They raised the money, but the repairs never happened. When King Joash calls them to account for not carrying out the repairs, it is agreed that the repairs will be outsourced to carpenters, stonemasons, and construction workers. In other words, the priests should never have been tasked with it in the first place. Priests are not construction workers. Their priests. If you want a construction project to succeed put the right people in the right positions.

In the quiet this morning, I thought about our weekly staff meeting yesterday. It went over by twenty minutes because two colleagues were discussing an internal project I have them working on. They are so well-suited for this task. It plays to both their strengths and passions. It was almost as if they couldn’t stop talking about it. I just sat back and enjoyed their conversation and the moment. The sage of Ecclesiastes wrote that it’s a gift of God when a person enjoys his or her job.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as an employer and a boss is that I want the right people in the right jobs where their strengths and giftedness can flourish. One individual in the wrong job can negatively impact the entire system.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Transition of Leadership

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them.They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols.
2 Chronicles 24:17-18 (NIV)

Along my life journey I’ve witnessed, or been part of, a number of leadership transitions. Churches, schools, civic organizations, business, clients, not to mention the transition of power our nation peacefully experiences every 2-4 years. Some transitions I’ve experienced have been positive experiences, some have not.

In today’s chapter the Chronicler relates some fascinating details about the reign of young King Joash of Judah. In the previous two chapters we learned that the entire royal family of David had been wiped out. Joash had been hidden away as an infant in the Temple of Solomon for seven years. Then the high priest, Jehoiada, let a coup and placed Joash on the throne.

Reading between the lines on the Chronicler’s papyrus, we see there may have been a bit of an ebb and flow to the relationship between Jehoiada and young King Joash, between monarch and priest, between politics and religion. Jehoiada was, no doubt, a powerful figure. He was the one who hid the infant and protected him. He was the one who plotted and carried out the coup. He was the one who put Joash on the throne. Jehoiada was the power behind the child king, and he even oversaw who Joash would marry and with whom the king would have children.

The king grows up and gives orders for a tax to be collected to repair Solomon’s Temple, but the King’s wishes are not immediately carried out. Jehoiada was the power behind the throne, and the Levites knew to take their orders from the high priest, not the king. Joash summons Jehoiada before him. Joash had always taken his commands from Jehoiada, now the young king was testing and exerting his own power and authority over Jehoiada. The high priest submits, but we as readers are left wondering just how these two powerful men managed their relationship with one another.

The Chronicler then tells us about another transition of leadership. The powerful religious leader, Jehoiada, dies. There is now a vacuum of religious leadership. Immediately, the “officials” of Judah (leaders of clans, businessmen, state officials. and etc.) swoop into that power vacuum and pay a visit to King Joash. They convince the King to loosen Jehoiada’s powerful stranglehold on local religion and support the resurgence of the local Canaanite gods. Joash does so despite many prophetic warnings. The Chronicler makes it clear that this doesn’t end well.

This morning I’m thinking about transitions of leadership and of power. Jehoiada saw to it that Joash was placed on the throne, but the Chronicler’s account leaves me believing that he may have looked upon the young monarch as a puppet to be controlled rather than a protegé to be mentored. The difference is monumental and the fact that there was no successor to Jehoiada with the authority to command respect of the King and his “officials” says that the high priest had equally not done an adequate job preparing for his successor and ensuring that the legacy of his leadership would continue.

I have been blessed and privileged to be in many different leadership positions in my lifetime. In the quiet this morning I’m taking stock of how I have handled the transition of power and leadership to others. The results, I confess, are mixed. In some cases I feel that I’ve done well, and in others I realize that, like Jehoiada, I’ve missed the opportunity to bless my successor and those under my leadership with a wisely planned transition. I can’t change the past, but I can ensure that I handle future opportunities with greater wisdom and grace. I pray I do so.

Have a great week, my friends!