The definition of success varies from one individual to the next. We also find that individual and corporate definitions abound. However we choose to define success, whether achievement, financial freedom, independence, family, health, love, etc., remember that our success relies on the help we receive from or the help we provide others.
Marianne Williamson claims that “success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”
From a leadership perspective, we find biblical application connected to this definition of success. When leadership is built on self-interests and self-centered ambition, we can achieve success, at least as some define it.
However, biblical success is directly related to our passion, i.e. understanding that passion involves sacrifice and sacrifice is affiliated with what we give up. And when we make a sacrifice for others, our leadership influence soars.
We can enjoy peaceful rest when our talents and abilities are used to serve others in this way. Here is leadership at its best. How will you and I rest tonight?
Concluding our thoughts on the mark of greatness, we consider one final area demonstrated by our Lord: His confidence in twelve men to turn the world upside down.
Jesus taught, encouraged, admonished, and equipped these men in preparation for the work He commissioned them to fulfill.
Looking at these four words and thinking about how Jesus individualized each them, the lessons are powerful in leadership greatness today.
Teach: People will only do the work they are taught to do. One of the areas where teaching / preaching falls short is application. We are good to give information and share the imperatives, but “how” do we do it? When the application is provided, we all learn how to fulfill the task.
Encourage: The ability to encourage others motivates them to work harder than before. When criticism is tempered with encouragement, people change.
Admonish: Warning, advising, or even reprimanding others is needed to prevent harm from occurring in the lives of others. The attitude behind admonition determines the reception.
Equip: Providing the necessary tools to fulfill the given task and responsibility are vital to the success of followers, especially as we prepare them to lead.
The life of Jesus clearly sets an example of greatness, provided so that we might follow in His steps. We have considered His compassion and His ability to discuss matters of importance.
Another area of greatness found in the life of Jesus was His suffering. Jesus suffered on numerous occasions both verbally and physically.
The religious leaders sought to eliminate this threat to their position and power.
The ultimate suffering, however, did not come at the hands of the religious leaders, even though they instigated the procedure.
At the hands of Rome, Jesus would encounter suffering beyond imagination, as He was beaten, ridiculed, mocked with a crown of thorns, spit upon, scourged, and nailed to a cross.
Suffering is not often seen as greatness, rather a stumbling block and foolishness. But to those who are saved, it is the power of God.
The purpose of His suffering makes this act of leadership a mark of greatness.
As leaders today, the higher we go in leadership the greater the sacrifice we must make. Suffering will be a mark of greatness for leaders as well.
Studying the life of Jesus reveals numerous marks of greatness that point to His leadership. As we considered yesterday, Jesus demonstrated compassion regarding the needs of others.
Another characteristic of His leadership was the ability to address matters of greater and more significant importance.
The disciples constantly questioned Jesus about matters of the kingdom, especially a physical emphasis.
The response given by Jesus answered their immediate inquisition, but He directed their attention deeper into matters that were more spiritual in nature.
One example involved the concern of the disciples over the destruction of the temple, the sign of His coming, and the end of the age.
While Jesus addressed their concerns with information related to the signs prior to this event, He took them further into the events surrounding the judgment day.
He wanted them to know that something greater than the destruction of the temple was coming and the reason for teaching them this truth was to prepare themselves and others for that day.
Our leadership is the same; we are to prepare others for that day.
The idea of leadership greatness is quite subjective. However, we discover qualities and characteristics of many historical figures that left a mark of greatness in their leadership.
We do not have time to cover all of these historical leadership mentors, but we do have time to examine the mark of greatness left by Jesus as a leader.
One of the qualities Jesus demonstrated, instrumental in drawing others to Him, was compassion.
Several times throughout the gospels, scripture points to the compassion of Jesus. He was compassionate to those both physically and spiritually in need.
His compassion was more than a feeling of sympathy over their distress; it moved Him to act in ways that met the need.
Leaders who follow the example of Jesus realize the value of this compassionate approach. An awareness of the pressing needs of others is an important component, but compassionate leaders seek ways to get involved to help meet the need.
Pray God will strengthen us all with a compassion that is aware of our environment and willing to help others.
Life is filled with events. These events can be good or bad. The perspective of one person toward an event may not be the same as another person facing a similar event. The difference is often affiliated with someone’s attitude and worldview.
Robert Tew said, “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. What matters is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to complain and shrink or are you going to step into your greatness?”
As he expresses, what happens is not the issue, but what we do about it generally defines who we are as leaders.
One choice is easy: complain and shrink. However, the results hinder our influence and the development of leadership character.
The option of stepping into leadership motivates us to see beyond the present and consider the power of changing lives: ours and those who follow.
When various events enter our daily walk through life, let us consider how the choices we make impact our own leadership development and that of others.
The subject is as broad as it sounds and there are more questions to be asked than imaginable. Yet, the formation of an approach to adult leadership development is essential for the future.
One of the great downfalls of the current context of the church involves the struggles facing many congregations in the area of leadership.
Congregations are struggling with poorly equipped, and at times unqualified, leaders or no leadership at all. Sadly, far too many congregations of the Lord’s people have no idea who will fill the needed leadership positions in the days ahead.
A plan needs to developed in each congregation for the training, equipping, and developing leaders to prepare for the spiritual warfare that faces the church.
God’s people need to recognize the challenges before us and the current leadership of today must rise up to prepare leaders for tomorrow.
We should all be aware of the consequences of failing to plan for adult leadership development. What we need is a vision of the benefits for the Lord’s kingdom that will be experienced in the next generation. This will impact our children!