For those of us following the Christmas story, we see an amazing pair of dialogues in Luke 1. Zechariah and Mary are each visited by the angel Gabriel. Each is told of a miraculous birth to occur. One will be John the Baptist, the other Jesus Christ.
Each asks what sounds like a similar question. But Zechariah receives a rebuke and Mary sings a Magnificat. What’s the difference? Z’s question stems from a posture of distrust and Mary’s from a posture of trust.
There’s a world of difference between How shall I know this? (Zechariah) and How will this be? (Mary). One says “I don’t believe you–yet. Prove it!” The other says, “Ok, wow, that’s amazing. How is this going to work?” The latter receives the promise in faith and submission.
Is there an implication for the subordinate-superior relationship in the workplace? When a subordinate receives a new or unexpected duty, he may have questions on logistics (as did Mary). But the first thing his superior needs to see/hear/FEEL from the subordinate is trust. Compliance. “If you need me, sir/ma’am, you can count on me!”
We must start there. Once we give our boss what he/she needs, a dialogue on logistics can occur. But if we start with questions, our superiors may not perceive compliance. They may perceive pushback. We must be sensitive and considerate, first giving them what they need.
So we must be like Mary, not Zechariah. Start with trust/compliance.
What do you think?