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Wednesday Word: Competence

December 8, 2021 | Dr. Derry Long

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Instilling a Drive for Competence

The Old Testament tells us that those who are skilled will stand before kings. Jesus said to His Heavenly Father that He had accomplished all His Father had sent Him to do. On the cross He said, “It is finished.” Esther displayed great skill in appealing to someone in authority. Nehemiah showed skill in a large and complex building project, and Moses led hundreds of thousands across a desert wilderness maintaining order and cohesion.

In my research on empowerment I discovered that one of the four elements that empower people is competence. Consider this, it ought to be thought part of the responsibility of a leader to facilitate the development of competence in his or her followers; and the same holds true for a spouse and certainly for a parent.

The development of competence in a valued area generates joy and self-respect as well as stature among others. The creation story suggests Adam and Eve were endowed with capacity and competence when they were invited to have dominion over the creation and to name the animals.

Without realizing it at the time, I grew up in a home where competence was on display. My dad could fix almost anything. Along with that, he showed all the traits of a good neighbor. He could dig water wells and shear sheep. The list seemed endless. And my mother was a fabulous cook. Our children still talk of the buns and ham, when we would arrive for Christmas. But she was also, what might be called today, a prodigy in music. She taught herself how to play five instruments including piano, organ, accordion, mandolin, and guitar. A classically trained pianist said to me that there were things she did that he could not do on a piano.

As God finished each day’s creative activity, Scripture tells us that He saw it was good.

Recently, my wife Marcy and I went to the local rodeo, the Bozeman Stampede, held each August at the fairgrounds. After getting seated I looked at the program and exclaimed to Marcy, “Look, Lisa Lockhart is here in barrel racing.” We spent 10 years in Circle, Montana and Lisa Lockhart is from the Schillinger family in Circle. But more, she is a world class barrel racer having won more money than any other barrel racer in history. When her turn was up, the announcer said, “And now Lisa Lockhart, 14-time National Final Rodeo qualifier.” Tears came to my eyes. I was in the presence of greatness. Imagine the money and hours and work to have accomplished this level of achievement.

But such achievement, such skill, if carried with humility and a servant spirit, always inspires others and reflects on our Creator, who looked at us, and saw that, “it was good.”

Dr. Derry Long

Professor of Christian Leadership

Dr. Derry Long has served in ministry for over 45 years in many roles – pastor, church planter, pastoral coach, regional overseer, and […]

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