“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela
Mr. Mandela’s thought is challenging to the way we live our lives and the purpose for which they are lived.
There is not doubt Mandela was speaking about physical freedom from oppression and poverty. However, there is also a great spiritual application.
Our freedom from the consequences of sin is not simply about casting off our own chains. We need to live in a way that will demonstrate respect for others and assist them to enjoy the same level of freedom.
Here is where our leadership will be determined.
If our motivation is based on a selfish desire to only satisfy our own spiritual needs, then we have become near sighted and forgotten the true power of the gospel.
The death of Jesus is a foundation for our life, but as well the life of all who will come to Him. Let us lead others to the true freedom from the bondage and oppression of sin.
Few ideas are more significant than the need for survival. For some, the need to find a meal for the day is a matter of survival. For some, getting through the day with their life is a matter of survival.
Leadership survival is an area of great need within the church of the twenty-first century.
Leaders struggle to survive the challenges to their leadership in matters of faith and practice.
Leaders will need to survive the false accusations to their character by dissenters.
Leaders must develop survival skills against the forces of division among change agents.
Survival is a priority when it comes to leadership.
Sadly, the survival of leadership sometimes involves “being shot at from both sides.” Satan is crafty at using those within and without to attack leadership.
How many times have we heard the idea “it’s lonely at the top.” While spiritual leadership is not about being “at the top,” there are a number of areas that qualify for the loneliness involved as a leader in the Lord’s church.
Perhaps this is why so few are willing to accept this needed role.
For several weeks we have been talking about the task of leading the most unlikely. We know who it is and we know the biblical teaching that supports the need.
However, the reality of taking action is difficult.
We will become vulnerable emotionally, mentally, and physically.
We will expose ourselves for who we really are at the core of our being.
We must develop a compassion for the most unlikely of the world and a greater desire to get involved to help.
We would also be well served to understand that those who need to change the most are the most likely to change. Yet, when we see them as the most unlikely to change we will not consider leading them to Christ.
The difficulty of these matters is learning to be genuine in our care for leading the unlikely. We must learn how to love unconditionally.
Loving unconditionally means that no matter what you have done, what you believe, or how you treat me, I am going to love you.
Unconditional love is what leads others to the Savior! When we demonstrate it, we will lead the most unlikely.
Only one of its kind, special, unlike anything else, and unusual, are terms to describe the idea of being unique.
The idea of being unique can apply to something or someone.
The more unique, the more desirable, the more valuable, and the more popular.
Leadership has a unique opportunity to change the physical, spiritual and eternal lives of others.
What is it about our leadership that is unique?
Perhaps our style of leadership is unique, but in what ways can it be one of a kind?
Possibly it is the principle of our leadership that is unique, but principles are universal.
Potentially, our purpose is what makes leadership unique; in reality it is the only part of leadership that is unique.
Spiritual leadership has only one purpose, unlike anything else, special and unusual. This purpose was born out of the unconditional love of the Creator for His creation; a purpose designed to be demonstrated one to another.
This purpose is what keeps us focused and leads to the only hope for all of humanity. Helping others find this hope is a unique leadership.
As I sit in the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston I see people everywhere. Who are they? Where do they live? Where are they going? Are they married? Do they have children…grandchildren? Do they believe in God?
The list of questions is endless. The number of people who live and travel around the world is incredible, really more mind boggling.
The only way to know anything about them is to get involved in their lives. The challenge is taking that step. How can we lead them to the Savior without this connection?
More than likely, we will have to overcome some of our inhibition to take this step.
We will need to overcome fear!
What are we afraid of the most? Rejection? Failure? Saying something wrong?
The application of this thought is true whether talking to a stranger at an airport or a neighbor across the street.
Leading anyone to Christ involves the first step of moving past our fear and connecting to their lives. As challenging as the step may seem, the emotional connection of genuine love will make the difference.
“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” Zig Ziglar
I often view a number of different websites and read tons of material about leadership. I am constantly amazed at where powerful thoughts are found.
I recently came across a list of quotes from Zig Ziglar that were identified as “Quotes That Can Change Your Life.”
Several are very good, but the first one grabbed my attention. I do not know how many times I have heard people refer to themselves as a failure. Because they did not succeed at a specific task, or achieve a grade they desired, they did not see the event as a failure, but themselves.
Sadly, we tend to carry this mentality over to the way we view other people. When others do not live up to “our” expectations or desires, we see them as a failure. Even worse is the way we see others can often affect the way others see themselves.
Quality leadership takes note of the opportunity to learn from the events (failures) in life and build their own character and/or the character of someone else, to ultimately succeed.
My studies these past two months have been intensely challenging to how I live out what I believe and see taught in God’s word.
Let me clarify up front, I know that everyone needs the gospel.
I have heard numerous stories of the difficulties in reaching those who are more affluent in this world with the gospel. This is often the case when participating in campaigns.
We know this is true, regardless of the reasons we might present to the reality of the situation.
My concern? If we know that God has chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith, and the receptivity is higher, then why are we not making greater efforts to lead the most unlikely to the Lord?
Do we exert the majority of our efforts to teach the gospel to those who seemingly feel as if they do not need God because they have plenty in this life?
Should we not spend more effort leading those who have little or nothing in this life to a greater understanding of what God has prepared for us?
More next week…