The Devil is in the Details
The idiom: “The devil is in the details,” refers to the fact that when problems develop or things fail, it is often because someone overlooked or failed to care for a small, seemingly insignificant item. The older phrase, “God is in the details,” is a reference that attention to the seemingly small and mundane pays off in rewards.
Managing Details can be Mundane
Much of a leader’s task is the routine of managing. Managing can feel mundane. Tending the flock was no doubt boring at time. If the shepherd was good at this job of providing secure and uneventful pastures, water and rest, once he got the sheep to the pasture there was little to do. Similarly, the functions of administration and management, i.e., the routine tasks of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling are essential responsibilities but can be routine.
Manage and Lead Well
Managing and leading go hand in hand. If you lead well, managing is easier. If you manage well, leading is easier. Crisis after crisis is an indicator that someone is not attending to the tasks of managing and leading.
The desert terrain of the Middle East is arid and dry. Good pasture and safe water locations are constantly changing and require traveling from one location to another. It is essential that the shepherd lead the sheep to green pasture. The shepherd must know where to search for food. A single sheep needs one acre of good pasture per year.
Manage and Lead with Care
The Hebrew נָהַל (nahal) makes note that the shepherd “leads with care.” As the shepherd led the sheep to pasture and water, he also led them on the rocky terrain. To go from one pasture to another required that the shepherd know the best paths. Walking through the scary place I find comfort in Him (Psalm 23:4). The imagery of the “valley of the shadow of death” (KJV) describes a path that leads through a narrow mountain pass encompassed by deep ravines and dark towering cliffs. Yet based on trust and confidence in the shepherd the sheep follow.
A effective leader is someone people trust to the extent they will follow him/her to places they would not go on their own. The leader says: “There is the destination, this is the way, follow me and I will take you there.”
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