Articles of Faith: The Leadership “Stoplights”

Traffic Lights

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.

As long as I can remember, stoplights have been such an irritation to me.

Though used for safety and proper traffic flow, they can be terribly inconvenient. Almost everyone can attest to at least one incident in which a stoplight hindered getting to some event on time, or caused the loss of sight of the car you are trying to follow.

In spite of these unavoidable drawbacks, stoplights are so iconic to us that many towns are noted for having few, if any, in their jurisdiction. With all of this said, here are a few great lessons to be learned from the stoplight.

The Greater Good

Stoplights Were Created For A Purpose

Garrett Augustus Morgan first patented the traffic light, which was first set up in Detroit, Michigan in 1920. The original intent was for railroad signaling. Necessity being the mother of invention, the Morgan Light was used and modified into what we use today. Its purpose became handling the ever increasing congestion in big cities. It suffices to say that stoplights were specifically designed to carry out a specific purpose.

“Though the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, his stops are ordered as well” – Pastor Buster Mullins

We can learn something here. The Bible states in Psalms 37:23,

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  (KJV).

Though it speaks of steps here, I was recently reminded by a great preacher from Southwest Virginia, that the stops are ordered as well.

God orders our life with a purpose. Accomplishing His purpose for us should be number one on our priority list. Sometimes He puts up red lights in our path to help us as we lead others, conduct our own Christlike walk with God, and raise our families. Every leader loves it when things seem to be moving along. In fact, many times it can be like driving with cruise control, but handling the stops can be exasperating!

Clear Thinking

Stoplights Give Clear Indications

Stoplights are rather clear in their business. It is stop, go, or slow to a stop. Every leader likes to have clear direction as to what to do in any given situation. Much of the deliberation in decision-making is the matter of accepting the fact of living with the consequences of our decisions. Though we like the green lights and usually get excited upon sight of their beaming rays, the red glow from the traffic signal is probably more important.

Think about this truth for a minute. When we are cruising along, someone has to stop for us. They observe our behavior and consider their destination and direction. It is while stopped that forgotten things are remembered. If the individual does not stop, they are likely to miss out on something important.

The hustle and bustle of the business day can leave one constantly bewildered and blindly going with the flow. When we are forced to slow down or stop, we can catch our breath and possibly make better decisions.

Bigger Picture

Stoplights Are Providential

When I was in the second grade at Gospel Light Christian School of Walkertown, North Carolina, my teacher related a most impressionable event one morning. Every morning she stopped by another student’s house to bring them to school.

On this particular morning, my fellow student remained asleep on the couch in spite of my teacher’s best effort to wake her up by knocking on the door. In a few minutes, the student was soon dressed and sitting in the car. Hurrying on to school and making up some time as well, they providentially were held up by an inconvenient traffic light.

While motionless at the stoplight, a semi-truck and trailer wrecked a vehicle in the intersection. My very thankful second grade teacher was careful to point out God had providentially saved them from a serious accident by stopping them at that light.

Smelling The Roses

Ponder This A Moment…

PonderingMaybe God has you stopped at a providential intersection. Instead of looking at the fact that your career is at a standstill, or that your business has not been as productive, could it be time for you to simply enjoy the respite and consider the lesson(s) being taught to you?

Properly handling the “stoplights” in your life, whether privately or publicly, can determine the longevity of your effectiveness as a leader. From my own experiences, I can tell you this is highly important to carrying out the divine will of God for our lives!

What is one positive result you have experienced as a result of knowing when to stop or slow down before advancing further? In what area of life would you most benefit from embracing “stoplight” moments?

Bookmark Articles of Faith: The Leadership “Stoplights”

Pastor Andrew Schank is Church Planter with Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc.
He has a servant’s heart for missions and church planting
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog

Edited by Mike Weppler

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