Do You Know What You Want?

What do you want me to do for you?

Mark 10:51

What’s the question? You know, the question. The one that Jesus is asking. The one you know the answer to but can’t quite formulate the words.

Jesus asks a lot of questions. He asks rhetorical questions, but also ones that he expected an answer to as well. For example:

  • “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” John 6:5
  • “Woman, why do you involve me?” John 2:4
  • “What do you want me to do for you?” Mark 10:51
  • “Do you see anything?” Mark 8:23

And these are just a few of the questions he asks.

Challenged by the Bible and a few people in my life, I’ve spent a few years trying to determine exactly what I want. How would I answer Jesus if he were to ask, “What do you want?”

I can’t answer.

Perhaps you can relate to my reasoning. First, I find that it is easier to say, “Whatever you want” rather than truly do the work to discover my desires. Plus, I remember that verse that says the heart is deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9). Still, Psalm 37:4 teaches us that if we set our desires on Him, He will give us what we want.

So, back to the question. What do you want? How would you answer?

Here are some responses to Jesus’ questions:

  • “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” John 6:5
    • “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish” John 6:9
      • This is the feeding of the multitudes. It teaches me that God doesn’t waste imperfect small offerings.
  • “Woman, why do you involve me?” John 2:4
    • “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5
      • This is the story of water turned into wine. It teaches me that if I am willing to do what he asks, God delivers the best.
  • “What do you want me to do for you?” Mark 10:51
    • “Rabbi, I want to see.” Mark 10:51
      • This is the story of blind Bartimaeus. Healing is available to those who call out to Jesus.
  • “Do you see anything?” Mark 8:23
    • “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Mark 8:24
      • This is the story of Jesus helping a man to see by putting mud on his eyes. Sometimes a vision is blurry until Jesus deems you ready.

Jesus is waiting to hear your answer. Listen for Jesus to ask the question: What do you want?

I’ll tell you what I want; I want to share about my upcoming book! Ambassador International is printing Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

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© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

How To Start Succession Planning

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:7

It was a momentous occasion. In a meeting about fundraising, one of the board members said, “It’s no longer your vision, it’s our vision.” When a leader is able to communicate the vision in such a way that others grasp it and start to call it their own, the first step toward succession planning has taken place.

Many nonprofits struggle with Founder’s Syndrome. That is when the founder is such a charismatic figure in the nonprofit that no one can imagine the nonprofit without that individual. In other words, the nonprofit is the person. While that means the nonprofit can thrive for quite some time, it also means that when that person leaves or passes away, so does the nonprofit. The good work stops, the people flounder looking for another resource, and there is no legacy for future generations.

Jesus knew about Founder’s Syndrome. He knew that succession planning and support systems are important. He also knew that it would take many people (not just one) to continue the work. He gave us the Holy Spirit, which lives in every believer, to ensure that the good work can continue.

If you are part of a nonprofit, consider what would happen if you stepped away tomorrow. Who would step up and do what you are doing? Do they know how to be the most successful? They may not do it exactly the same, but would they have the tools to be successful?

Challenge: Take time today to identify one or two people who would be great in your place. What is the first thing you need to do to empower them to take over when the time is right? Like this post when you have that name and next step in mind.

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Find me on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

What to do When Someone Leaves

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’

So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

John 5:8-13

When staff leave, it’s not easy. You lose talent, institutional knowledge, and, most likely, sleep.

A leader once told me that when her staff left, it wasn’t what she wanted. However, it presented her with the opportunity to be “on the front lines” again. She got to interact with clients, linking arms with her staff in the day-to-day tasks, and it warmed her heart. It had been decades since she took the administrative role and had been one step removed from the direct client service. Being so far from the action—the reason why most gets involved in a nonprofit—is necessary and can also be hard.

Jesus was in the action. And sometimes he was instructing those who were in the action, like an administrator. He did what He could for people. But don’t miss three lessons.

1) Jesus did what He could for the person in front of Him. Jesus helped the person become whole who wanted it. He also helped the Pharisees learn and see. For those who were open, Jesus was available. Whether you directly serve people or if you serve the people indirectly, serve the person in front of you. Serve who you see.

2) The second lesson in this passage is that the Jewish leaders questioned the person and missed the miracle. They had their standard and didn’t pause long enough to recognize the person in front of them—one that was unable to walk was now walking. Don’t miss the miracle.

3) Which leads to the third lesson: Look for the wonder. The leaders had a moment to stop and take in the wonder. Recognizing the grace for the day in themselves and in this other could have restored faith. It could have been a mile-marker day. But instead, it became a day when they couldn’t walk a mile in another’s shoes. Being open to the wonder of God will wow you. Look for the wonder.

Serve who is in front of you.

Don’t miss the miracle.

Look for the wonder.

And get more sleep should your staff move on to other successes. You’ll have another miracle, another wonder-full moment if you serve who is before you—whether that is a client, board member, donor, staff, or volunteer.

Which lesson will you be watching for today? Perhaps it is God, perhaps it is another person. Be on the lookout, and then share your story on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

When You Feel Guilty About Leaving

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:19-20

My clients—women who are feeling stuck in the nonprofit sector—often feel guilty over leaving their role, whether that is volunteer, staff, or board member. Most likely, the attraction to the nonprofit sector began because they could fulfill a need and found a place that suited their passion and style. And, of course, they connected with the nonprofit’s pursuit to make the world a better place. But what happens when those needs are no longer a challenge? What happens when she totters on the edge of burnout? What happens when the woman knows it’s time to move on, but can’t because the thought of that exposed need is uncomfortable?

Jesus knew the needs. He knew when people needed him, and he was the only one who could do what would make them whole. He also knew when to leave.

In fact, the people he called to be part of his team left the job. Not with a month’s notice. Quite literally, they left the job unfinished, when the clock on the shift was running, with the need exposed. Even worse, it was the family business! Yet, they left.

Jesus says elsewhere that the poor will be on the earth for as long as the earth exists (Matthew 26:11). The work of those in the nonprofit sector will never be done. The need for one more person, one more passion, one more service to make this world better for one more person will exist.

And sometimes, you have to leave before the celebration from a job well done. If you know that your time at a particular nonprofit is drawing to a close, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Be honest with yourself, and those around you in what is coming next in your life.
  2. Wrap up as many projects and tasks that makes sense, or at least to a place where the next step launches a new phase. Do the things only you can do. Settle yourself in knowing the work won’t be done when you are done.
  3. Find your finish line through prayer. There will be things undone but being able to say you are done is powerful.
  4. Pray for the person who will be the next to fill the gap. Pray for their growth, and empowerment to bring their own strengths and flavor to the role. Ask the God of Peace to provide for that person…and for you!

Once Jesus calls, you must follow; Even with undone tasks and projects.

Prayer: Jesus, I can appreciate feeling needed at a nonprofit. But I know you have great plans for me, and for the people in the nonprofit I serve. May I be attentive to your call when it is time for me to move on.

Do you have a finish line in your sights? Like this post so I can pray with you, or share your story on Facebook. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Are You Failing as You Finish?

…but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.”

John 14:31b

I was at a conference where a woman shared her struggles about succession planning, but she wasn’t struggling with finding the next leader. She knew her executive director was making plans for her to take over, and she didn’t want to take the lead. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this expressed from a female nonprofit leader; That while they love the organization, they don’t want to lead the organization. Oftentimes, the desire to be on the front lines instead of administration, or younger children at home, or even just evaluating the hours a top leader puts in is enough to keep a woman from wanting to be the leader.

In this particular case, she felt that if she were to leave, that the organization would be let down…that there was no one who could fill her shoes and enter leadership within the next year or two. Not only would the executive director be leaving, but also the one who had been in training for 11 years. That’s no small decision, knowing the organization might flounder.

Yet, she said something profound that has rattled in my mind. While thinking about what would be left undone, and what would be difficult for the organization to achieve without her institutional knowledge, she felt a deep sense of failure on her part for leaving. The guilt of knowing that it would be difficult for new leaders to learn the lessons she learned. And then, she realized that “it’s not failure. It’s a finish line.” What profound words.

How many times do we continue to push, just one more task, campaign, year…only to realize there’s another task, campaign, year? How many times do we claim that this job was the calling, and that without it we aren’t doing what God “wants?” How many times do we determine that our vocation is our calling, when in fact, it may be part of the calling, but not the ultimate vision God has for us?

In her release of the guilt and responsibility, this woman physically looked happier, brighter, and more loving. She found what Jesus may illuminated in John 14:31.

Jesus sets the example to do what our Father says to do. But he doesn’t stick around to make sure that everything gets done the way we want it, or that the person coming after doesn’t experience failure. Rather, Jesus makes a bold statement that he does “exactly what my Father has commanded” (emphasis mine), and then, he leaves.

Quite literally, the disciples hear the lessons of how to love well and prepare better, and then they physically leave the room. However, metaphorically, I see how this could be an indication that after we have done what God said to do, we leave. There’s no permanency. When the task is done, leave. It’s not failure, it’s a finish line.

Don’t get stuck in the prep work or the guilt of moving on. When it’s clear it’s time, finish, even when it feels like failure. The leaving is a way to follow God’s command.

In what spaces are you potentially hindering the mission because you feel guilty for stopping? Where are you stuck in leaving? If the struggle is real for you, give a like on Facebook so I can pray for you. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Attend a free one-hour webinar, Organize Your Organization on this Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. This webinar is to help you set up your organization, and also a few tips on how to organize your own work. Register here.

Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.