Key cutter or key holder?
How often do we go shopping and pay so little attention to the items we purchase, and how they have made their way into our lives? Quite often, the people involved in their production may be treated rather unfairly, and we smile at the bargain with no idea of the real cost to people’s lives. Likewise, how are the people who have served us been treated? Are they on less than the Real Living Wage, do they live with a zero hours contract, are they struggling with an employer who treats them unfairly. And yet there are also wonderful examples of good management of people. The key cutter company Timpson have an up “upside down” management approach. To give best customer services they give their employees freedom. They have only two rules. “Look the part. Put the money in the till.” They trust those whom they employ, allow them to make decisions borne from their own knowledge and experience of their customers. “Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow,” said St Peter. Sometimes, the church can easily miss the point. Those in leadership can mistake authority for power. Peter knew this, to the extent that he had to remind the leaders of the church community to which he was writing to “be shepherds of the flock entrusted to them.” He, of all people knew this. He was “an elder” himself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, “and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed,” he says. And, of course, he himself was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. So, whether we are a key cutter or a key holder, we are called to be gentle with those entrusted to our care, and sometimes spare them some slack to make decisions which perhaps they know to be right. “When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.”
God our Father, help us to be gentle with those given to our care. May we value the offering that each person makes, and rejoice in each of the gifts you give to all. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.