You just got done with a big project, and it was a huge success! So the boss wants to take the team out to celebrate this great victory. After a couple of drinks with dinner, everyone decides to hang around for a little while and bask in the glory of a job well done.
Then it happens.
The boss, who now seems to have had one too many drinks, stumbles off of his chair while getting up to go to the restroom. When he returns, he starts cracking the kind of jokes about coworkers that only seem to come up when someone has lost control of their thoughts and words.
Now forget the sweet taste of victory on the big project, and think about how you’ll look at this person in the office the next day. Do you respect him the way that you did before? How far are you willing to follow him now?
Or how about the closet case? This one is the boss that doesn’t make the appearances at social events like this because he knows that he has a problem but refuses to admit it.
But every night when he gets home from work, he needs those few drinks just to “wind down”; eventually drinking himself to sleep on the couch in front of the TV set as he attempts to detach from reality. This is the guy who likely spends as much on liquor every day as he spends on food. On the surface you would never know, but he simply can’t live without the drink.
If you knew this about your boss, how would you feel? Do you trust the decisions that he makes about your future?
This one is a pretty serious topic, and I’m not going to go lightly on it. The eighth qualification for the executive-leader is, “not a drunkard”. The Greek word used here is paroinos, which is sometimes translated as drunkard, but is also translated as addicted to (much) wine. The idea here is that the person struggles with life-controlling, mind-altering substances.
Let me be clear about this though. This doesn’t mean that drinking alcoholic beverages is completely wrong. While the Bible is clear that we should not get drunk (abuse of alcohol), there is nothing that tells us to not drink altogether. The problem comes when this goes beyond the occasional glass of wine with dinner, or other non-addictive behavior with any substance.
I’ve talked about self-control, but this goes beyond that.
Think about the instances that I mentioned above. The large majority of people have a difficult time following leaders who fit either one of those categories. Why? Because if they have that difficult of a time coping with reality, then they may not be as strong as you need them to be in dealing with your reality.
It partially has to do with control, but people need their leaders to be strong as well. The inability to control yourself with alcohol shows that you’re weaker as leader than you need to be. It also often says something about the level of self-respect that you have.
My wife and I used to lead the young adults ministry at our church. And in that group, I know one young man who at the age of 21 was already an alcoholic, and checked himself into a 12-step program. Since he got sober, and turned his life over to God, he has been on the right path for his life.
He finished EMT School and Fire School. In doing so he accomplished a life-long dream, and now finds a great deal of purpose in helping to save the lives of many people like himself. Tim is an amazing young man, and I’m so incredibly happy to be associated with him. Check out his testimony to hear more about his heart in this.
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So as I close this one, I want to encourage you that if you struggle with things in your life, and regularly find yourself turning to alcohol and/or drugs, to find help right now.
When it comes to your ability to lead, continuing down the same path that you’re on will only lead to destruction. Admitting that you have a problem doesn’t make you weak. It puts you on the road to recovery, and that makes you an overcomer. And often overcomers are worthy of more respect than the rest of us because of the obstacles that they have to navigate.
The bottom line is that you cannot continue to live this way if you want to achieve great things with your life. Get straight, and do it now, and experience everything that God has for you.
If you don’t struggle with this yourself, you may know someone who does. If this is the case, then confront them about it. Real friends don’t let their friends screw their lives up like this.
Questions to consider:
- To drink or not to drink? THAT is the question…
See more from the management by God series!