Strategically shrewd and innocent

I recently relaunched my personal blog. After relaunching, I realized that some of my original blog posts didn’t make it over to my new site. The following is a repost from one of my first entries. I still find it very relevant and hope you do, too.

I listened to a recent message by Andy Stanley, which was part of North Point Community Church’s “Christian” series. In this particular message Andy shares with all Christ followers that we are salt and light to the world. Salt always preserves. Light always shows the way. One image in Matthew 5 that especially stood out to me from this message is in verse 14, “A city on a hill can’t be hidden.” Now, cities don’t accidentally appear in a location. They are chosen locations, designed, and settled with purpose. So, has God really strategically place me like a city on a hill? Cities on hills are hard to ignore because their lights do shine and show the way.

Medellín at night

I also read a recent blog post by Brian Volk with Life Lessons Over Lunch. His post was based on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.” Brian outlines some excellent thoughts and directives for Life Lessons Over Lunch leaders. I am a little intimidated by the shrewd and innocent part, especially if I have been sent out like sheep among wolves. Of the people I know who fit these descriptions, few are both shrewd and innocent. They might be one, but rarely also the other.

So, these two concepts from Matthew 5 and Matthew 14 have resonated with me. I am very comforted and excited to know that God has strategically placed me where I am living and working. But, I am also a little intimidated by the shrewd and innocent part.

As I build relationships with my team, customers, and vendors, I am challenged by these concepts. I am investing in my team and our culture, but I never want to come across as pushy or demanding. I also want the best for my customers and vendors, but I never want to be perceived as obnoxious. So, helping preserve like salt and show the way like a light in a production-focused business world, honestly, takes a little shrewdness and total honesty (or innocence) all of the time.

I don’t have all of the answers. But, what I do know is that when I live and lead on purpose, people notice Jesus’ love. Living and leading shrewd as a snake and innocent as a dove isn’t such a bad idea after all.

So, tell me: When was a time you were shrewd and also innocent? 

Trust me, people notice.

Have I Lost My Mind?

Monday, I did something for the first time. I qualified as a candidate for the position of an Irwin County Commissioner. I have grown up around local politics as my dad, Gary, serves as an Irwin County Board of Education Member. And, my father-in-law, Billy Zorn, serves as a County Commissioner in Irwin County’s First District.

In 2002, Jorjanne and I moved home to start my family’s processing business, Muscadine Products Corporation (MPC). After our move from Atlanta, I commented that one day maybe I would have the opportunity to serve as a Commissioner and redeem my Georgia Tech Civil Engineering degree. Civil Engineering is essentially solving the problems of society – providing clean water for a region; designing safe roads and bridges for a community; or, constructing hospitals and industrial parks. Except for a few years serving on Ocilla-Irwin County’s Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Irwin County’s Industrial Authority, I have focused my entire professional attention on building my company. MPC produces regionally grown fruit products for people around the world desiring a healthy, natural life. Now, when I think about it, my responsibilities as a civil engineer and President of MPC are similar – to solve problems, improving life for others.

When I arrived at the Courthouse on Monday to complete my application, I realized I was the first person to sign up. All eyes were on me. That was a little awkward. And, then when I arrived at my Ocilla Rotary Club’s meeting three hours later, everyone knew that I qualified. (Who needs social media when there is an election in a small town?) Everyone congratulated me on qualifying…except one good friend. He frankly asked, “Have you lost your mind?!”

I haven’t lost my mind. I am just doing what I have learned to do. God has blessed MPC beyond my wildest dreams, and now I realize I have an opportunity to help solve problems, improving life for my neighbors.

Question: Have you ever volunteered to serve and someone asked if you lost your mind? What was that like?

I look forward to hearing from you!