“Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.”
A Psalm of David
This is one of my favorite verses. A person who has as many children as I do would obviously like the encouragement for a big family, but there is something larger that inspires me in these verses. The metaphor of an archer launching others into life is the part that really fires me up. I get the privilege and honor of doing that six times in just my immediate family!
When I talk to prospective parents I am looking for a couple of things. The first is a sense of awe, wonder, and delight. The second is the sheer weight of the responsibility. There should be some measure of excitement mixed with at least a little bit of terror. If you are holding both of those things in tension, I think you might just be ready for parenthood. For us and our six children it has been both our greatest privilege and, at times, a terrifying and humbling responsibility.
One of my favorite leaders runs a self-storage business. It was designed intentionally with the latest and greatest cutting edge technology to increase the customer experience, while minimizing the need for much staffing. If anyone could make the case for not investing in an employee development plan, this guy could.
Instead, he goes above and beyond for his young employees.
He invests in professional coaching.
He sends them to Lifeplan retreats.
He encourages, challenges, and develops them.
He teaches them how to have an ownership mindset.
He intentionally hires young people who aspire to a life beyond his self-storage business. His plan is to develop them for a season, and then launch them into the next stage of their life better prepared.
Like an arrow in the hands of a warrior.
When it is time for them to matriculate to their next vocational step, he sends them on their way…even when they are more comfortable and wanting to stay in his employ. He is ready to move onto the next project.
My friend Gregg likes these verses as well. He talks about the drawing of the arrow back being the time you spend with them before you launch them into life. Just like with a real arrow, there is a certain amount of tension that must be applied and a deliberateness to the effort. We also draw back the arrow a relatively small amount in relation to the distance it travels once we release.
The Kingdom leadership conversation we are having with a lot of leaders is starting to tilt toward the life of their employees outside of their work and beyond their tenure with them.
If the way we show our love for God is ultimately measured by the way we love his children…
If being a co-heir of His Kingdom is actually about tending the territory (and the occupants of that territory) we’ve been given responsibility over…
Then, intending the best life possible for them in and outside of work sounds more like a minimum responsibility rather than something aspirational.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, we are supposed to prepare our quiver-full for the most abundant life beyond their time with us.
- How are you caring for the people under your leadership?
- Are you developing and preparing them for life?
- Does your heart for them extend beyond the work they do and time they spend with you?
- What do you need to change about how you are leading and developing them?