Like any good Army, they attacked while I slept. Believing the enemy was nowhere near my position, I laid down in the cool shade and the tall grass to take a little nap. I can almost hear them whispering from their hiding places, "Wait till he's down...then strike!" And, oh, how they struck! Hard! The strange thing is I didn't even know it until days later. Talk about stealth. In fact, it was not until I discovered the attack that I realized such an Army existed at all. Until then they had, in my mind, fallen into the same category as the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Easter Bunny. No...these are frightenly real. Chiggers! Microscopic, flesh-eating, bump raising purveyors of unending torture and misery. And still I have never seen a chigger, I've only seen and experienced what they can do. Whoever said, "What you don't know won't hurt you.", never met a chigger.
Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being ... certain of what we do not see." Certainty of the unseen ... faith! Many people have trouble with the idea of faith. For many, the mere mention of it conjures images gray haired nuns armed with razor sharp rulers, or of the preacher on TV that continually asks for money to spend on obscene amounts of hair spray, while others equate faith with ritualistic church attendance every Sunday since their early childhood or the rite of saying grace prior to meals. Sadly, those images are not altogether without warrant. But faith is so much more. It is a part of the puzzle that is Everyman! A large part, without which, the puzzle would be incomplete and indiscernible. The same faith that sees the existance of bugs in the evidence of their bite, enables you and I to see the evidence of a gracious and grace-full God in the world around us.
For the leader ... the sergeant, the commander, the mentor, the teacher, the employer, the father ... faith is that which sees the potential in those placed under his care. It recognizes that every soldier has the potential to better himself, his fellow soldiers, his unit, and his country. Perhaps that's why the writer of Hebrews said, "And without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6, NIV). For without faith we will never see the image of a loving and caring God stamped on every member of this or any organization. And unless we as leaders are able to recognize that image, that potential, we will never lift our subordinates above the level of mediocrity.
The next time you find yourself wanting to address, or speak about, a subordinate using words such as "worthless", "good-for-nothing", "dirt-bag", or some other more colorful metaphor ... think of the chigger, and have a little faith.