Def: Pivot: ‘A person or thing on which something depends or turns’
When I was 20 I was an idiot. You might be thinking, “so, what has changed?” Well, I am prone to being daft – but I was properly and utterly a donut when I was a young man.
I worked for the Ministry of Defence back then. I was in the personnel department for the officers in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). I was given the privilege of being on an ‘exercise’ a sort of practice thing for, you know, World War Three . . . I had to go to Whitehall and work in the bowels of the earth (tunnels and stuff) it should have been pretty cool.
Having familiarised myself with my vital role in this exercise (filing) I read magazines and novels waiting for it to all kick off . . . Lunch time came around and my line manager said, “you’ve got an hour”, so off I trotted with a fellow “exercise” bod, a lad in the army who liked a drink . . . Um, well – I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of this hard drinking army lad did I?
We were both expected back at 1.30pm . . . But rocked up to the bunker at about 3pm. I sat down to take in the mountain of filing waiting for me, the exercise line manager said, “what are you doing?” I said, “I’m going to do this filing.” He said, “no you’re not – get your stuff, you’re finished.” I was ushered out of the bunker, escorted along a corridor to another building – in total shock at what had happened (and what was still happening, as I had to go and speak to the Officer running the exercise) I pleaded bowel issues and darted into the wash room. It was here that I made things worse.
Everyone on the exercise had a pass with their photo on it, mine was hung around my neck. I took it off and splashed water in my face – and stared at the mind boggling, bumbling, buffoon in the mirror. I then walked out of the wash room . . . leaving my pass by the sink.
A double whammy – I was sent back to my actual job in disgrace for:
1. Coming back late from lunch
2. Leaving my pass in the restroom and creating a security threat – which they thought I did on purpose (!)
I was truly “in it”. I got back to my actual job and my actual office to face my actual boss (who had allowed me to go on this special exercise in the first place). I walked into his office. I cannot repeat here what he said to me. However, once he had said certain things about my stupidity – he then proceeded to tell me something else – both by the next few words he spoke, and subsequently by his actions.
‘I believe in you’ he said.
I couldn’t believe this – seriously, I don’t believe in MYSELF – what is my boss doing? I have tipped him over the edge with my incompetence.
No, what I slowly – over the next few years – began to realise, is that he saw potential in me (deep, really deep down) and he was going to persevere in bringing me to a better place – helping me to believe in myself and start to do something with my life.
I began to work more closely with my boss, a bit like his PA – and picked up his office skills, watched his leadership of others. Saw how he dealt with conflict and challenges. The more time I spent with him, the more I learnt – and the more I discovered what I could do, given the impetus and the investment and the week in week out encouragement.
This guy was the best boss I ever had, because he helped me to become the best I had ever been . . .
I don’t know where you are at – we all have pivots at different times in our lives, ministries, circumstances. Something or someone on whom we depend. Someone who helps turn our life around.
Who are you a pivot for?
Who has helped you to pivot?
We don’t know the influence we have by the words we say and then the actions that follow. This boss of mine chose to believe in me (despite all the evidence telling him he was nuts) and it changed my life.
In scripture we are encouraged to ‘clothe yourself with Christ’ (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27) – when we first put on Christ, it can feel ill fitting, baggy and too much – but, gradually, the Holy Spirit working in us changes us and makes us more like Christ – we out on Christ, we become other than we would be without Him. So much more . . .
For us, Christ is the ultimate ‘pivot’ not simply a change of direction and something that helps us to turn – but a pivot that is death to life, despair to hope, insecurity to confidence, fear to peace.
Remember today those who have influenced you and helped you change and grow – but, more than that – give thanks for Jesus Christ on whom the whole of creation depends, the one on whom and through whom EVERYTHING pivots.