It’s been a great late autumn for the forage harvest this year … the mowers and balers have been flat out throughout the first week of September laying up extra stores of grass to feed cattle and sheep through the winter. But WHAT happens between cutting and baling? That’ll be the low profile and under-appreciated task of turning. Glamorous it ain’t, but it’s a job that is crucial to a successful harvest and that has got to be done right to get the stock through the hard times that lie ahead in winter.
The process of making silage is actually a process of managing change, and funnily enough, like any successful management of change, it’s a boring old job that calls for care and thorough attention to detail. And there’s an important lesson in it about leadership and successful change management. When the grass is first cut it is pretty bright green. As you first spread it out with the rake or the hay-bob and initiate the change in the forage as it gets exposed to the sun, it is easy to see where you’ve been. At this point it is easy to steer inside the turned grass to turn over the next row that needs drying. But as it dries and is turned the second and third times … as the job nears successful completion … the colour of the grass lying underneath comes closer and closer to the grass that’s been drying on top in the sunlight.
Harder to see where you’ve been
And as that happens it gets harder and harder to see where you’ve been. Successful management of change in the church is like that. As the process nears completion it gets harder and harder to see where YOU’ve been, because the successful Christian leader of change finds his finger prints less and less on the process as it is increasingly owned by everyone else in the body of Christ. And mebbe that’s an idea that could profitably catch on elsewhere? So here comes the prayer for today: God grant us the security in Him (not our work) to allow us to retreat from stamping ourselves all over the leadership we exercise in His Name, so that it becomes increasingly difficult to see where we’ve been and more and more evident that it’s His harvest that has actually matured.