by Carla N. Archie
As we approach the holiday season and the end of the year, I find myself reflecting on the year, its personal and professional challenges, and it reminds of the Biblical story of Noah. As the story is recorded in the book of Genesis, God regretted the creation of man and decided to eliminate the human race. God told Noah of his plan to send a great flood and instructed Noah to build an ark. God gave Noah some very specific instructions on how to build the ark. He said to make it out of cypress wood. Make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. Make it 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. Make a roof for it. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. He also told Noah to take his wife, his sons, and his sons' wives, as well as two of every kind of animal and all sorts of food. The scriptures say that Noah did everything God commanded. Then, in seven days, it started to rain.
We may ascribe to different religious beliefs; however, the story of Noah teaches a common lesson in faithful obedience. Imagine if Noah hadn't listened to God--- he would have perished with all the rest. Imagine if Noah had focused on his critics--- the people who said "Noah, you're 600 years old. Just enjoy your retirement!"--- or the ones who said, "Noah, it's impossible to do all this in just 7 days."--- or the ones who said, "Noah, there's not a rain cloud in the sky!"
But Noah was a faithful, obedient servant, and that's the type of modern leadership we should strive to exercise every day. We should plan our work and work our plan, ignoring pessimistic nay-sayers and foregoing concern about who will get the credit.
You may have heard the story about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry about it, because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could.
After years of laboring in the vineyard, I imagine many lawyers have grown weary. We have been to countless meetings, programs, workshops, and planning retreats. And at the end of the day, after we leave work, pick up the kids, the dry cleaning and the groceries, after we cook dinner, check homework, pay bills, pack lunch, wash clothes, and put the finishing touches on the brief that’s due tomorrow, our tank of energy and enthusiasm for serving the community is running on “E!”
But therein lies the importance of year-end reflection. While Noah had accomplished much, his job was not done when he completed the ark. As the story goes, the Lord told Noah to bring into the ark two of every living creature, male and female, to keep them alive. It reminds me that, after we have planned our work and worked our plans, it is imperative that we take somebody with us! There is an old African proverb that says, "If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together."
As we wrap up another productive calendar year, it is important to pause and reflect on how we have been, continue to be, and can become more like the servant leader that Noah was--- how we can listen carefully, build faithfully, even in the face of critics, and then help someone along our journey. Because a storm will eventually come, and it is imperative that we all get ready.
I look forward to seeing you at the next Bar event before year-end!