There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord's people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we-not to say anything about you-would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
2 Corinthians 9:1-5
What a great and caring leader Paul was to boast about the Corinthians! I love to hear leaders brag on their people openly. A leader's praise is affirming and helps create community. Well, that's if the people are truly covered by their leader. If leaders are also tearing down their people when outsiders are not around, then the covering is superficial and counterproductive. Rarely do we speak of covering or sheltering in regards to leadership. Do we feel that it is not a leader's responsibility? Do we feel that responsible and ethical employees or other stakeholders do not need covering? First, we must understand that covering is different from accountability. Providing covering does not mean that you are not holding people accountable. It means that you are providing your people with a safe place to learn, grow, and be corrected without public shaming or ridicule. Second, the most reliable and diligent of your stakeholders are still imperfect and are bound to make mistakes. Consequently, they need continued leadership that adapts to their needs. Yes, they need covering from other stakeholders, competitors, and from their self-esteem that would dare tell them they are not good enough.
Covering is not the absence of accountability, but just as God's grace covers us in times of shortcomings, so should Christ-centered leaders hide and protect their people.
There is so much we can take from Paul's one verse to the Corinthians. Paul already had confidence in the community of believers, yet he did not let that stop him from helping, guiding, and covering them so they would not be put to shame upon his arrival. He wanted them to look good, competent, and prepared, so he sent his brothers ahead of him to ensure everything he expected from them was in order. This should be a priority for Christ-centered leaders. You see, when God's people look good, He looks good to unbelievers. I should not have to explain that, but I must because of what I have observed throughout the years. I have witnessed leaders who would have rather let their people look bad so that s/he looks to be the most equipped, intelligent, faithful person in the organization rather than shield their stakeholders. That is not uncommon for prideful leaders. That kind of pride is born from insecurity in one's self, and it has no place in leadership. As Paul did, we should provide covering to those God has called us to lead - never wanting to see them put to shame. Psalm 27:5 says, "For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock." As our Father and Sovereign King, God provides His children with covering, refuge, and safety in times of trouble, uncertainty, and grief. He also hides us and elevates us. Again, covering is not the absence of accountability, but just as God's grace covers us in times of shortcomings, so should Christ-centered leaders hide and protect their people.
Holy Spirit, teach us to widen our hearts for your people so that we may unselfishly and relentlessly guide, assist, and cover your people as a good shepherd does. In Jesus' name, Amen.