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He Chooses Whom He Will! (10.18.05--That Person!--Judges 4:4ff)

My first job out of college was a long time in coming. It was with a small publishing company that published inspirational magazines, greeting booklets and high quality cookbooks. I met my immediate supervisor at the receptionist desk, a man named Ralph, who had been with the company for decades. I will never forget the first words he said to me. “Come on, let’s go see the boss.”

He led me down a corridor that turned at right angles to the Editorial Director’s office. I looked at the nameplate on the door as Ralph knocked. “L. Obst.” I fancied as the door opened that we would be met by a knarled veteran of the publishing wars, who slightly smelled of printer’s ink and whose rolled-up, gartered shirt sleeves revealed arms that had probably cranked an offset press or two in his day. But, L. Obst turned out to be Lorraine and not Larry. I was taken aback. I was working for a woman and as I reached out my hand to grasp hers, an uneasiness passed over me. I had never worked for a woman before. Would this work?

Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America, started her practice in New York in 1851. Not only was she unable to find patients--no one would even rent her a room once she mentioned that she was a doctor. After weeks of trudging the streets, she finally rented rooms from a landlady who asked no questions about what Elizabeth planned to do with them. Quaker women, who were more trusting when it came to these things, became Elizabeth’s first patients. But no hospital would allow her on its staff. Finally, with financial help from her Quaker fiends, Elizabeth opened her own clinic in one of New York’s worst slums. Elizabeth hung a sign out announcing that all patients would be treated free. Yet, for the first few weeks, no one showed up. Then one day a woman in such agony that she didn’t care who treated her, staggered up the steps and collapsed in Elizabeth’s arms. When the woman was treated and recovered, she told all her friends about the wonderful woman doctor in downtown New York. The dispensary was soon doing well. (Bits & Pieces, August 22, 1991.)

God chooses whom He will whether that be an Editorial Director, a doctor or even a Biblical leader such as Deborah. (Judges 4:4ff) My uneasiness at meeting Lorraine was soon replaced with respect and admiration. She was kind, considerate and fair--just the kind of “boss” I needed starting my first job. She taught me much in the short time I knew here. But, most importantly, she taught me this: God, not man, is behind all good leadership. Therein lies the real blessing.

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