The Reign of Incompetence

“Ummm…just a second…I will go check.”  The young man who was on the phone with my husband was less than unsure.  Eric impatiently waited as the young man went to look for the needed item.  When he came back he stammered out an explanation of the item in his hand.  That is when Eric realized that he didn’t even have a clue what he was looking for.

Now, you might think  that we are being awfully hard on this young man, but the fact of the matter is, what Eric needed was a very basic item found in a hardware store.   He should have been able to call and get a quick yes or no.  But, instead, he ended up on the phone with someone who was incompetent.

A few weeks later we went out to eat and fell into the hands of an incompetent waitress.  She was a pleasant girl, but seemed to be struggling with the very basics of her job.   It was a frustrating meal, as we all would try to catch her attention and she wouldn’t even look our way.

We all run into incompetent people now and again, but am I the only one who feels like it is becoming more and more often?  So what can we do?

First, we should realize that the clueless person is a person with feelings.  Chances are they were thrown into the job without proper training.  Or perhaps they are trying to do a job for which they are not suitable.  Hopefully, they figure that out sooner rather than later, but our rudeness isn’t going to help them either way.  And, as a Christian, we are responsible to treat them with courtesy and kindness, no matter how frustrated we may be (so much easier to write than to do!)

And then, second, I can’t help but think that we, as believers, should never be found to be incompetent.  Oh, I know that there are those beginning days of a new job when we are uncertain about things.  But we should learn as quickly as we can, always thinking about the next thing, and working hard to know the job.  Colossians 3:23-24 are two of my favorite verses.  They say: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  

As believers, we are to do all we do with our best effort, for we are serving the Lord, not men.   This is hard to remember when you are in a job atmosphere where workers slack off when the boss isn’t around.  Or where there is great laziness and disinterest in the job.  But, as believers, we are called by God to be competent, diligent, and hard-working, despite the crowd around us.

And, just a word of caution, this is not the popular thing to do.  Oh, your boss will love it (if you don’t have an incompetent, lazy boss who is worried about you surpassing him!)  but your co-workers may grow resentful; they may even call you names.  Be prepared.  Doing what God calls us to in all aspects of life isn’t always easy.  In fact, I would venture to say it is usually the rockier route to travel.

And, finally, as parents, business owners, and teachers, let’s work hard to instill this passion for doing the best job we can into our children, employees, and students.  Let’s expect competence and diligence from them.  Let’s encourage their hearts, while demanding excellence.  It is up to us to train the next generation.  How are we going to do that if we lazily do our own thing?  We have a responsibility and we need to take it seriously.

Incompetence may reign in our culture – but it doesn’t need to reign in the lives of ourselves or our families.  Let’s show that we are different because we serve the Lord.  Are you ready to travel the rocky path and do what’s right, no matter the cost?

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