Leadership story: Is it all a waste of time or not?
There was once a small village with a church and little bit more than a handful of houses located in a far remote place where there weren’t many tourists or any other kind of visitors. The people in the village were very connected and everyone knew each other like the back of their hand. When children grew up most of them went to big cities and soon the village had only a couple of elders left. The pastor in the village was a proud man who devoted his life to bringing change to each individual that would be in search of spiritual guidance no matter where or when that person needed help. So he stayed and continued to provide his services to the couple of elders that were in the village and a few shepherds which came past the village a couple of times each year. During winter the elders had a tough time coming to church and one Sunday when it was snowing heavily no one turned up for the service at the church. The pastor felt like it was all a waste of time and started doubting his calling. Maybe not his calling as much as his decision to stay in this village.
Then unexpectedly a local shepherd came to the church. To his surprise, the church was empty except the priest who stood in front of the alter quietly not saying a word. The priest decided to wait a little bit longer to see if anyone else would show up. After some time the priest decided to step up to the shepherd and said, “Dear sir, we have waited for some time now and no one else showed. I’m sorry that your trip was a waste of time but there will be no service today as it is only you that has come. Let’s have some hot drinks and you share with me why you have come and then you can be on your way back home.” The shepherd was surprised and responded, “Dear father, thank you for the drink, but I am surprised about your decisions. I believe I have to share with you one important lesson that I have learned.” The priest looked surprised and asked the shepherd to continue.
So the shepherd continued, “Dear father I am a simple man and I have dedicated my life to my flock of sheep. When I go and feed my herd of sheep during winter when they are safe and sound in the barn I call them by whistling so they know it’s time for food. Most of the time, all of them turn up, but sometimes only a couple or just one turn up. And even if only one comes I make sure that that one sheep isn’t hungry. I am responsible for them no matter how many of them need me at any moment, and I will be there for them. That is my calling. What is your calling dear father?”
The priest realized his mistake. Without a word, he stood up, went in front of the altar, and started his sermon. The sermon went on for almost two hours. In the end, the priest felt happy that he had decided to do it and thanked the shepherd for this important lesson and asked him if the service was to his liking or if there was anything he would have changed? The shepherd smiled back and replied, “Well when I go to feed my herd and if only one sheep turns up I make sure that I don’t force it to eat all the food I brought for the whole herd.” Then the shepherd thanked the priest for the service and went home. The priest on the other hand stood in front of the alter some more and contemplated what had just happened.
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What lesson did you get out of this story?