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IN THE CARPENTER’S WORKSHOP: How’s your appraisal going?

It is a fact that we are being evaluated everyday.  The words we say, the actions we take, they are all out there for public perusal.  

Sometimes we worry about what others may think. Sometimes we don’t care.  But it happens all the same and can affect us in many ways.

In our work, God wants us to be the humble, fruitful person he calls us to be everywhere else.  So how do we measure up?  And how can we do things better?

Here is a look behind the scenes at a company in somewhere, USA.  It reveals quite a bit about both manager and employee.

They hired a management consultant to appraise the personnel efficiency reports made out by their managers and supervisors. The consultant expected the reports to be dull going, but found to his surprise that they contained a good deal of intentional -- and unintentional -- humor. Here are a few examples ... 

- This foreman has talents but has kept them well hidden.

- Can express a sentence in two paragraphs any time.

- A quiet, reticent manager, industrious, tenacious, careful and neat. I do not wish to have this woman as a member of my department under any circumstances. 

- In any change in policy or procedure, he can be relied upon to produce the improbable, hypothetical situation in which the new policy cannot work. 

- Needs careful watching since he borders on the brilliant. 

- Open to suggestions but never follows them.

- Is keenly analytical, and his highly developed mentality could best be utilized in research and development. He lacks common sense. 

- Never makes the same mistake twice, but it seems to me he had made them all once.  

As far as the managers are concerned, the report says more about them than the employee.  They don’t want to offend.  They are very creative, but at the same time they are seeing deficiencies in the people they manage and want to get that word in there as well.

As far as the employees go, they may think they are doing a great job, but there a few changes in how they do their work, which would make a great difference.  In most of us, there is a great difference in who we think we are, and who we actually are. Shifting our focus to the Christian life, there are direct parallels for all of us.  We all start out as Christians in the same place. We are rookies. We have never done this before.

But God wants us to grow, to become more efficient and fruitful, and He will do more than we could ever think possible to help us become that way.  But if we are lazy, indifferent or just tired, we are in danger of becoming like the employees in the reports above.

Here’s the thing; with God, nothing is impossible. Miracles are available.  Wonderful things can happen.  Who would not want that for their lives?  Who would be satisfied with ordinary or sub-par when all this is available.

There is another level to this appraiser deal.   God will judge us all at the end of our lives.  If we have been faithful and growing, he will say, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  If we come up short, having been close to faith, close to being one of his children but actually not make leap to being a disciple, we could be in trouble.  Big trouble.  Like burning fire of hell trouble.

Businesses and churches often set goals and dream dreams for the future.  We look at what is happening right now, and we try to figure out what good things can happen.  We look at efficiency, possibilities, profit and relevancy.

For instance, how well do we do what we do in our work, in our families or in our church?  Are we known as minimum Mollie, or maximum Marty?  Can people count on us all the time, or do they ask someone else because they know we will not follow through.

Are we so overpowering no one else can get a word in edgewise, or are we so quiet no one ever knows what we are thinking.  Movement toward the middle is what is needed here.

Some churches are doing the minimum. Others are doing so much they are wearing their people out.  Again, movement toward the middle is a good choice.

I’m kind of thinking that there is a direction for all of us in today’s column.  Know-it-alls are a dime a dozen.  Discovering that we know nothing, and that other’s opinions are valuable, now that’s a rare bird right there.

God treats us all equally, no matter who we are.  He takes us just as we are and wants to make us the people he has in mind for us to be.  It’s a lifetime process called sanctification, taking out the bad and putting in the good.

Jesus calls us to be his disciples.  When he finds us sleeping, he wakes us up.  When we don’t understand, he explains.  When we go to heaven, he walks with us. 

So how’s your appraisal going?