“Men of Issachar were 200 men who understood the times and knew what they should be doing” – they lived in the early years of the Nation of Israel.
The post independence era of India, produced many such “Men of Issachar's”. The need to respond to the various challenges facing the new born nation, or nation in its childhood and adolescence, institutions, organizations and movements were created, to provide compassionate care, holistic education and people building, and to take forward the “Great Commission” and “Great Commandment”. Creating “new wine” and “new wineskins” of institutions and movements, these men mobilized people around these “dreams” they dreamt.
Today, we reap the results of these men. The organization I am part of, the church I attend, the school my children went to are few examples, from our own family life. Look around, you will see many such examples.
50 to 60 years have passed. The context has changed. What was one country is now breaking into multiple language based groups, with regionalism at its height. Social fabric seems to be tethering at the verge of chaos. Economic boom has produced a generation of young and middle aged middle class who have no concept of poverty and or rural India or what it means to be in need. In the midst of this is the emerging “neo-marginalization's”. The hour-glass demography changes – increasing life expectancy – the senior citizens and emerging “millennial” generation is changing the context of workplace, and life in all social circles.The freedom of religion we enjoyed thus far, is showing signs of potential dilutions in the near future. A cultural revolution is on – values we lived with, is fast changing with globalization and urbanization.….Another generation is entering work places, and their expectations are much different.
Do we “Understand the times” – Do we know, what we should be doing”….Are we Men of Issachar…?
The Message – whether it be health, education or spiritual or development, need not change…and many a times cannot change. But the Method has to change as per times. Rather it has changed already. Health care is driven by technology, Education is driven by Competition, Spirituality is driven by numbers and the spectacular than word or depth. Many new wines are emerging, some good, some not so good.
But the wine skins – they still remain old. Management has not changed…
We either look out into the corporate world or west and try doing some cursory changes in management – without changing the wineskin fully! Are there not ways of creating new wine skins – management systems which are culturally relevant, family and community oriented, new wine skins which are realistic for the current context and our country? For this to happen – structures have to change. For structures to change, governance has to change.
New wine has to be in new wine skins of institutions, organizations and movements. But for that we need another set of Men of Issachar…people who will understand and will know what to do….would our generation produce them…if we will not….we will move on, but we would have lost the opportunity to impact the emerging generation and the world in need around us.