Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The perfect apprentice

Photo credit: BBC Pictures

I recently spent the weekend hiding from the tabloids, facebook and anything else that might give away the winner of The Apprentice. I’d sky plussed it but knew I wouldn’t be able to watch it for several days after the Sunday final.

For those of you who’ve never seen the show, here’s the basic premise. Lord Admiral Grand High Dragon Brewmaster Suralan Sugar (Lord Sugar for short) chooses a number of contestants – 16 this year – and then makes them jump through hoops each week, firing them one by one until a winner emerges.

This may sound cruel, and it sometimes is, but it is also massively entertaining, and discussions about each episode can bring even the least interesting of our colleagues to life.

Everyone had their favourite, whether it was eerie Edna with her creepy long gloves, monotonous Melody who would climb over a dead body to get what she wants, jolly Jim and his cringy one-liners, simpering Susan with her ridiculous questions or triumphant Tom (this year’s winner) and his harebrained inventions.

But entertaining as it is, it made me wonder how I would respond if God was on one side of that boardroom table and I was on the other. What would he say about me? Would he point that oversized finger at me and tell me I’m FIRED (or even worse, doomed to the fires of hell?).

Well let’s think about how Jesus treated his ‘apprentices’, the disciples. They were a motley crew, including several fishermen, a tax collector and even a money-grabbing traitor. Jesus had his patience tested to the limit with these 12 guys, but he continued to spend time with them, teach them and help them to catch his vision.

He washed their feet, he prayed for them and he ultimately died for them. As their mentor, he didn’t look for ways to pick fault with them, he spent his time instructing, empowering and deeply loving them.

So does that mean we could go into God’s boardroom, stick our feet up on the desk and expect a big pat on the back? Probably not. He’s given us a clear mandate – to go into all the world and preach the good news about Jesus’ death and resurrection (Matthew 28:16-20) – and, like Lord Sugar with his tasks, he expects us to follow it.

God is not to be trifled with, but he is a people person. He wants to know us inside and out, to help us get rid of the bad bits and build on the good. While Sir Alan tells Zoe in one episode that he has forgiven her this time but won’t do so again, God never runs out of forgiveness for us.

And this is how we should treat the people around us, especially if we are in a position of authority ourselves. The impact we have on other people could change their lives and even their destinies. Our call is not to be power-hungry, but God-hungry, and this task is more challenging (and rewarding) than anything Lord Sugar could cook up.

The best part with God is that, whatever our skill set, we are absolutely definitely HIRED.

Read more in the upcoming issue of Sorted magazine.

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