Cronyism is defined (via wikipedia) as showing “partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications…. Often, the appointer is inadequate to hold his or her own job or position of authority, and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him or her, or express views contrary to those of the appointer.” Do you see examples of this around you?
“Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” —Luke 10:3
Yesterday, I saw a friend I had not seen in a year and a half. We had an incredibly honest conversation while standing in the middle of a popular store’s Baby Section. Interestingly, she began to share with me why she is not as involved with, as she terms it, “community obligations” as she once was. Her experiences have caused her to re-prioritize her energies.
As she spoke, I could not help but to be surprised by how much I could relate to what she was saying. On one hand, I was comforted by the bluntness of our conversation because it is not one I hear often. On the other hand, I was sadden because, as she said, “People will see that you truly care for people and they will use that against you to stagnant your growth.” Fortunately, everyone is not like this but there are far too many who–intentionally or otherwise—are.
As she spoke, I remembered how active she was in volunteer activities—rather they stemmed from her church, the result of her profession, or via her social interests. One day, however, she realized that the people she was being surrounded by were likened to wolves. They did not really care how she was doing. They were circling her looking for opportunities to take—-to take her energy, to take her skill sets, to take her talents, to take her breath—but never offering her any real opportunities for advancement or enhancement. Those favorable circumstances were being distributed amongst friends. When she understood this, she was insulted. Upon this realization, many are.
Today, I sit still thinking about that conversation. In fact, it was the third one of its kind that crossed my path within the last two weeks. They have led me to wonder the very real and detrimental impact cronyism has on communities across the nation and on the world as a whole. These are things that are not being talked about….enough. Young people hear, “We want you to get involved,” but like my friend stated, “Once we do, we are silenced because of cronyism.” What a powerful observation! More so, what a loss for the community….many times for the very community we are assigned (at least for a season) to serve!
When many think of Christians, they limit our workplaces to sanctuaries. This may be true for some, but a much larger number of us are to GO out into the world and work. Hence, we are lawyers and doctors, teachers and artists, customer service agents and nurses, police officers and janitors, writers and business owners, bus drivers and scientists, bartenders and cashiers, executive directors and staff, in the forefront and behind the scenes….the list goes on and on. We are young and old, from a variety of cultures speaking a number of languages. Our personalities are as vast as the audience we are to reach.
Yes, we are uniquely made to GO, however, we must be clear about and committed to our purpose in life and in situations. Why? Because we will be met with opposition and without knowing our purpose, we can be easily discouraged, frustrated, and/or led astray. Spiritual warfare is real. Don’t let cronyism bench you!
We have people to serve, people to help, lives to touch in positive ways. We have been commissioned to be on a mission. We are to accomplish that mission in love. So, let us agree to remain focused on God. Let us seek Him for understanding and strength, for clarity and inspiration. Let us walk His way, according to His will for our lives. Let us remember that He is sending us out like sheep among wolves. Be careful!