My pastor said something recently that really struck me: “We need to be curators of human talent.” I’m in HR, so this is something that’s been close to my heart for many years. Helping people to be the best they can be is, I believe, one of the most important things we are all called to do as Christians, whether we’re in HR or not.
There’s a great illustration of this in Jesus’ Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9 (NLT):
A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, “I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.” The gardener answered, “Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine, if not, the you can cut it down.”
We can interpret this as “persevere and continue to show some tender loving care and investment in the tree, in order that it bears fruit”. In the same way, I believe that we need to invest in the people around us, whether at work, in a social situation or in our church community, in order to help them to “bear fruit”.
At an organisational level, this involves a whole area of work, including training, equipping staff with the right tools and encouraging them, among other activities. But as individuals, too, we should be helping the people around us to discover the best in themselves and offer it to God. Here are just 5 simple ways that we can do this:
1. Make yourself available
We’re all busy with work, with family and with life in general. But sometimes all it takes to help a struggling person to grow in confidence or faith (and therefore in “bearing fruit”) is to give them the gift of time. It could involve going out for coffee and just listening to them, or mentoring them, using some of the ideas below. But it will be time well spent.
2. Seek out and highlight the good in each person
People are only able to give of their best when they feel they have something worthwhile to give. Take time to point out their strengths. A little praise goes a long way! Also, help find them opportunities to put their strengths and skills to work by serving in some way. Getting involved in something will help them to build their confidence.
3. Speak words of insight and encouragement
This is closely related to the previous point but it is worth repeating because words are enormously powerful. As Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) says, “The tongue can bring death or life.” We should use our words to build people up so that they can go out in confidence and love to do God’s work.
4. Pray for each other
Hearing someone praying good things into your life is an incredibly moving and encouraging experience. It’s a way of articulating all the good things about that person, and thanking God for them, and of asking him to strengthen and equip them for the good works he has prepared for them to do.
5. Share Scripture together
There is so much wisdom and insight to be found in Scripture, and God can use it to open people’s eyes as to what he is calling them to do with their lives. Ask God to show you a verse or passage of Scripture that will particularly bless and strengthen the person you’re trying to help, and then share it with them.
Everybody at every level needs and deserves the opportunity to receive regular nurturing and development. Both at work and personally, I can honestly testify that I have seen people flourish and blossom when they are praised for doing a good job, when they are listened to or just included in some way.
I love this quote from Proverbs 27:17 (NLT):
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
It is my belief that learning is a life-long process and that we are all called to help each other find and explore our true potential.