The idea of legacy involves what someone leaves behind. One of the great exercises in leadership training is writing our own eulogy and then live what we want others to say about us when we die.
Let me share a few ideas left behind by my father.
For more than 30 years he read the New Testament through every month, the Old Testament through twice each year.
He was a preacher of the gospel for over 50 years.
He was married to the same wonderful woman for 60 years, father to 4 children, grandfather to 9 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
He developed a series of lessons to share the gospel in a simplistic way with others and led an untold number of people to know their Savior, Jesus Christ.
He lived in and by God’s Word; it flowed in and through his preaching. He knew THE book!
He lived with an eager anticipation of the reality he now enjoys.
He died with the Bible opened to the passage he had been studying for his next sermon. Take a moment to read Philippians 2:16.
This was a small part of the legacy he left behind for us.
Eight days ago my father passed away. His death was unexpected and it was not a phone call I anticipated receiving. As a tribute to him, this week I am going to share various ways my father filled the role of a great leader by the influence he had on many, especially me.
One area my father demonstrated great leadership was the kind of friendship he demonstrated. He was a great friend and leader because he pointed people to heaven. Nothing was more important.
He was one of the best personal workers I have ever known. His approach and style of studying the gospel with others was one of kindness. He was gentle and patient. He had an ability to make others not only feel special, but feel as if they were the most important person in his life and lead them to an understanding of what God’s word teaches.
He was a great leader because he knew how to lead others to Christ and provide an example in training others to do the same.
My prayer is that we will learn from his leadership and point others to heaven.
“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” Andrew Carnegie
One thing about leadership, everyone is watching. Children are watching. Our spouse is watching. Believe it or not, coworkers are watching. Neighbors, friends, extended family, the world; they are all watching.
Yes, they listen to what we say, but they watch what we do and then take a measurement. How does our leadership measure up?
Throughout the Old and New Testament, on various occasions, God was taking a measurement of the leaders of His people to show them how they were not measuring up to the standard He had given them. On one occasion they were not teaching truth to the people. On another occasion they were not living a life aligned with His word.
If God were to take a measurement of our leadership of His people today, how would we measure up?
Are we teaching truth? Are we living by the standard God has given us?
If not, while it is true others are watching us, remember God is also watching. Will we measure up?
For those who live in Colorado, you know exactly what I mean, and it may be the same wherever you live. The spring is always an interesting time of the year, one day we have sunshine and 75 – 80 degrees, and the next we have 25 degrees and 8 inches of snow.
As crazy as it may sound, this type of weather is fairly normal for the time of year. Inconsistency is about the only thing consistent. However, there is a comparison to our leadership.
Do people see us come in one day in perfect form, everything is excellent, and the next day cold and stormy, leaving everyone wondering how they should act, or what they should say?
Obviously, I cannot answer the question for you or anyone else. I mention this thought because it is not uncommon for there to be uncertainty among followers because of inconsistency among leaders.
Leadership involves a process by which we learn to demonstrate the consistent qualities of godliness so followers know exactly what to expect.
When we do, the strength of our leadership will shape the lives of others with the same standard.
A friend of mine in Arkansas used to tell me this every time I asked how he was doing; “Everyday’s a holiday.”
I do not pretend to know, nor do I intend to explore, all this statement means or could mean, but I do want to think about the attitude behind it.
Life is about how we approach it. If we make up our mind to approach life with a negative attitude, then all we see will be through the lens of negativity.
However, if we choose to approach life with the “everyday’s a holiday” attitude, then what we see will be through the lens of positivity.
Biblically, this is the idea behind the word “blessed.” The quality of being blessed is one that cannot be affected by outside circumstances. There is an inner quality that exists regardless of the storms of life that may be blowing.
Whether we are poor in spirit, mourning, hungry, thirsty, or persecuted for the cause of Christ, we are blessed.
If we really look closely, we will also find that being blessed is a choice. Maybe everyday really is a holiday.
Goals are one of the most needed areas of leadership, yet one of the most overlooked and misunderstood.
Our approach to goals and goal setting if often an exercise in wishful thinking and generalities.
We consider goals much like our New Year’s Resolutions (for whatever they are worth).
The point I am trying to make is to consider that our goals need to be specific in nature. What are we seeking to achieve, exactly?
Goals should be measurable. How can we evaluate the progress in reaching our goals if they are not measurable?
Goals should be action oriented. In other words, goals involve us doing something.
Goals must be realistic. Remember there is a fine line between what we can do on our own and what we need God to help us achieve.
Goals should also be time-bound. If there is not a time factor involved in reaching the goal, it is just a wish.
As leaders, we need goals on a personal and congregational level; long term and short term. Success comes to those who set smart goals.
If we were going to pick one prerequisite for leadership, what would we select?
Perhaps we would suggest the necessity of being a good communicator. There is no doubt, good leadership is built on good communication.
Maybe we would select the need for character. Again, character is not only a needed quality in leadership, we could say it is essential to being a good leader.
We might believe the best route is one of leadership ability. If there is something needed in leadership, we would all agree it is nearly impossible to lead without ability.
While I realize choosing one prerequisite for leadership can be subjective, I have learned over the years the prerequisite we need is a relationship with God.
Leaders will fail miserably when trying to go it alone.
Leaders will blindly falter when leading from a humanistic vantage.
Leaders will suffer needlessly when seeking guidance from worldly wisdom.
Only with the guidance, strength, and help of the Almighty God can we lead with the foundational prerequisite for successful leadership. See Joshua 1:1-9.