“No one ever finds life worth living—he has to make it worth living.” – Unknown
The value found in life is really determined by what we find valuable. Leaders cannot make life worth living for themselves or others unless they know what is valuable.
If we place value on what we achieve or obtain in this life, then chances are we will not look back on a life worth living. Our purpose in life is simply based in what we do, what others say about us and what we have materially, physically (health and family), or intellectually.
However, if we place value on helping make life better for others (materially, physically, intellectually) and if we seek the eternal well being of others, beginning with our families, then reaching the end of life will be a journey well lived.
Here is where true leadership is found. The old adage of Jesus first, others second, and yourself last has merit. I believe when we follow this order we are going to find that self really does not need a place, because a life worth living will be lived.
As I observe our grandchildren growing up, an interesting question comes to mind; who is really leading who?
While I would like to think, and I do, that as parents and grandparents we have a powerful influence in the development of these little lives as they grow.
However, it is interesting how they have ways of leading in their own right.
They know how to get everyone’s attention and quickly.
They know how to follow, even when it is not exactly the direction they want at the time.
They know they must learn how to work together with others, even though it is challenging for a child.
They know the value of giving love unconditionally, even when they have their feelings hurt.
They freely forgive and move on without a holding grudge.
Perhaps most important, they know that unsolicited hugs and good manners usually get them what they want.
Review this list and think about leadership. While we are to have influence in the lives of others, and I believe we do, perhaps a leadership lesson from children would help us all improve in our ability to lead.
A recent USA Today article claims between 1983 and 2009 stress in women has risen by 18% and 24% in men.
What creates such stress in our lives and why is it increasing? The article connected stress to three major factors: age, education and finances.
It is amazing how much our lives are connected to the perception of who we are and who we are is directly related to what we do, what others say about us, and what we have.
Study the temptations of Jesus and notice how Satan’s attack was connected to these three areas. However, Jesus knew who He was (God’s beloved Son, cf. Mt. 3:17) and no matter what happened in His life, He held on to this truth.
Only when we recognize we are the beloved children of God can we overcome this misconception. Leadership must help remove stress in this struggle of life.
We all face success and failure. Others will speak well of us and against us. We will also deal with times when we have and do not have things. Whatever happens, we must remember who we are!
What is it that frustrates us most? While the list is endless, let me attempt to name a few.
Do we get frustrated at incompetence? We just want people to do their job and care about doing it right.
Do we get frustrated at arrogance? It is challenging to hear others write or speak in ways that elevates themselves as better than others.
Do we get frustrated at hypocrisy? How badly we are looking for others to live what they claim to be.
Do we get frustrated at deception? Is it really too much to ask people to be true to their word?
Do we get frustrated when we see all the above?
Leadership is not unique when it comes to frustration. Followers get frustrated when they see leadership involved in any of the above also.
John Maxwell is credited with saying, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
It begins with us as leaders to set the example, providing a standard to follow. We must demonstrate patience and understanding in helping gently lead others to this standard, not condemn them or act condescendingly concerning their actions. Think Souls.
From the Old Testament to the New there are continual references to a land promised to God’s people. The children of Israel lived in captivity as slaves to the nation of Egypt anticipating the day someone would come and lead them to the promised land, a physical “land flowing with milk and honey.”
As well, God’s people today are living with the anticipation of a land God has promised. It is not a physical land here on earth, but a land beyond anything we can comprehend. This land will be one of rest where there will be no sickness or death.
The challenge is to recognize two great truths. One, we live in a world that is enslaved as captives to sin. They need someone to lead them with the anticipation of a better land.
Two, God’s people need leaders who will help them keep their focus on this promised land and not become enslaved again to sin.
The world and the church today need leaders who can see the promised land and are willing to lead others there.
“When you’re always trying to conform to the norm, you lose your uniqueness, which can be the foundation for your greatness.” Dale Archer
Leaders face many challenges. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges is learning that we are all leaders, so the question becomes how should we lead?
The very idea of spiritual leadership is unique in and of itself. If we are simply conforming to what the world sees as the norm as leaders, how powerful is it to consider we might be losing our foundation for greatness.
We lead because people need hope. We lead because salvation is at stake. We lead because God needs leaders. We lead because it makes a difference.
If this is true, then let us not conform to how the world sees leadership. Let us rise up and establish a foundation of greatness, leading as the servants God has called us to be in His kingdom.
I have a cover on my Bible to protect it. In case I drop it or need to lay it down where the sun might shine directly on it, I want to make sure I take good care of this gift.
I began thinking about the importance of providing leadership that ensures safety. How can we best provide this safety? Developing the 3 C’s is at least one approach.
Communication: One of the greatest challenges in the successful operation of any area of work is effective communication. Developing effective communication is a two way street involving skills that provide adequate information and being a good listener.
Consistency: We must guard against hypocrisy. Followers are not looking for perfection. However, they are looking for consistency. What we profess and how we live should match. Developing consistency is vital for safety.
Compassion: Do others know we care about them? Are we there when they have a physical, emotional, or spiritual need? The compassion we demonstrate can be one of the most important areas of safety.
Our efforts to help others feel safe ensures growth and development for the Lord’s kingdom.