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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Work yourself out of a job by teaching otherscomment (0)

April 12, 2012

By Jean Roberson


I was having a conversation with one of my children recently. We were disagreeing about something, and I said, “It is my job to make sure when you leave for college that you have all the skills and resources to go and be successful and live life.” Sitting there, I realized I was saying that basically it is my job to work myself out of a job. 

A day or so later I was sitting in a meeting, and we were discussing what our goal was in our work. After a moment, we started talking about how our goal was to replicate ourselves so that others could carry on the work and teach others.  

A few days following that, I was sitting with a woman in my church who is leading our missions efforts, and we identified success as people internalizing the call to minister to others so it would become second nature, rather than something someone had to lead them to do.  

It seems to be a theme — at home, at work, at church. I have to ask myself if there is really any realm in our lives where we are tasked with creating dependency on us. It seems that rather than making people need us, our goal is to empower others to be successful without us.  

Our children must be independent. Our coworkers must be able to succeed without us. Our churches should be able to build upon what we did. No one should be weaker once we are no longer present.

Yes it is nice to be needed. It feels good to be the expert, and it is affirming and reassuring when others look to us for guidance.  But feeling affirmed and good about ourselves is not our task. Our task is to create independence.  

Are you doing that?  

At work, are you empowering those around you and educating them so they are able to make informed decisions? Or are you caught up in the busyness of your work that you have become the person who makes all the decisions? 

At home, are you working with your family and creating opportunities for them to develop skills necessary to be successful in life?

At your church or in your Sunday School class, do others make decisions, organize events and teach?

In your friendships, are you encouraging others and spending time talking about what is going on in their lives or does the conversation drift to what is happening with you and your family?

The beauty of God is that He takes our humility and takes our service and uses it to make a difference. It becomes His glory that our lives count for something rather than our task to make ourselves feel needed.

A Takeaway Value …

Work yourself out of a job!

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.

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