Solving Problems

I’m tired of all the problems. I want everything to just be perfect. 

– Says the leader, parent, pastor, youth worker.

Admit it: You’ve thought it/said it/hoped it.

There are days when I have found myself tired of problems, an endless array of issues to mend, systems to repairs, problems to solve, either as a parent or as a pastor. Can’t I have just one day where everything is perfect? I’ve thought.

But recently, I’ve come to learn something: As long as you are leading, as a parent, volunteer, pastor, or otherwise, there will always be problems. 

As I’ve been reading through Acts, I’m struck by how many problems the early church faced. Problems about how to reach more people, how to integrate Gentiles with Jews, how to expand, how to deal with naysayers and persecutors. The problems never ended.

Then I read this quote from Colin Powell: “Problems come with just being alive, and even more come with responsibility…You are never caught up. I’ve lived by the proposition that solving problems is what leaders do. The day you are not solving problems or are not up to your butt in problems is probably a day you are no longer leading.” 

Leaders are faced with problems, but more so, leaders solve problems. A leader’s job is not to create an problem-free life, a problem-free desk. A leader’s job is to solve problems, to fix systems, to mend, repair, and put back together again in a better way.

So instead of hoping for a problem-free life, maybe instead we should hope for a life full of problem-solving. As Powell notes, “If your desk is clean and no one is bring you problems, you should be very worried.”

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