"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
When I came across the following quote: "There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is having patience. The second is being patient. And the third most important secret is patience," I wanted to know more about the person behind this statement, Chuck Tanner.
Tanner, who passed away this past February at age 82, was the popular manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died just days before his team was set to open spring training. While I don't claim to be a baseball expert, I was intrigued by the on-line information that painted the picture of a man who was greatly admired by his players, friends and fans.
In a 2002 interview, knuckleballer Wilbur Wood, who played for Tanner when he managed the White Sox in the 70s, briefly described what it was like to play for Tanner: "Chuck was the most positive guy I've ever been around. No matter how bad things were going, Chuck would always find something to be positive about, something to try to keep you going. In fact, Chuck spent more time with guys who were having trouble or in a slump than with guys who were doing well. I thought that was really smart. Remember, in baseball you only have 25 guys; if two or three guys are down or having a hard time suddenly your roster is really short. Chuck tried to keep everybody ready to play because that gave us a better chance of winning."
For Chuck Tanner, managing a baseball team wasn't just about winning. Among his many memorable quotes about the profession is this: "I don't think a manager should be judged by whether he wins the pennant, but by whether he gets the most out of the twenty-five men he's been given."
In Paul's letters to Timothy, he encourages the young disciple to fight the good fight. His goal was to get the most out of this young man who had chosen to follow Jesus. Timothy, who is shy and unassertive, has become discouraged because of the false teachers who have infiltrated the church. However, Paul understands the importance of training Timothy, who will one day take his place as a church leader. Paul's guidance, just like that of Chuck Tanner, requires patience.
Tanner said, "I communicated individually and collectively, and I was the boss. I treated everybody the same. Every day was a new day. No matter what transpired that day, if I hollered at you, no matter what happened, the slate is clean the next day. We're all starting new. That's the perspective I kept, and that's the way I treated everybody."
God is like that, too. He is patient with us. Each day, He gives us the opportunity to start over. His mercies are new each morning. The secret to managing life is about doing life God's way, with patience, perseverance and prayer.
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