“Ecologists remind us that a tree planted in a clearing of an old forest will grow more successfully than when it is planted in isolation in an open field. The roots of the new planting will follow more easily and more deeply the hidden pathways of old root systems. Likewise, human beings thrive best in following the paths of life already taken by others before them. None of us needs to reinvent the wheel or live as if no one has preceded us in the pathways of the wise.” James M. Houston
This thought has great application to leadership. The one thought that keeps coming to mind is the idea of the kind of root system we are leaving as leaders.
For followers to become tomorrow’s leaders, they cannot do so in isolation. Such an approach will not provide them with the needed strengthen and development to change the future in a godly way.
There are many who have and are providing pathways that are wise and will benefit others if they root their leadership within these paths.
May our leadership do the same for others who are following us.
The thought expressed in this Psalm is indicative of righteous leaders. Not only will they flourish like a palm tree, notice the way the Psalmist goes on to describe them.
Grow like a cedar in Lebanon: Leaders must be characterized by growth.
Planted in the house of the Lord: To be planted is evidence the root system is strong.
Flourish in the courts of our God: Flourishing indicates healthy development.
Yield fruit in old age: The beauty of godly leadership is the fruit it yields.
Full of sap and very green: They reflect youthful strength and vigor.
Declare that the Lord is upright: To declare such draws out purpose.
The words used to describe righteous leaders provide a greater understanding of what God can do with a leader who gives himself as a servant of the Lord.
By the help given by God, a righteous leader will not only experience the same benefits, they will also bring to followers the greatness of what God intended for leadership.
Let us lead with the righteous spirit of godliness.
Where do followers go when experiencing tragedies in life?
Where should they go when daily life is met with difficult challenges?
Where would leaders have them go when needs outweigh the balances of monetary ability?
Leaders will always be faced with questions regarding those who follow their leadership. This is especially true when thinking about spiritual leaders.
Jesus asked the apostles a question as people began to walk away and leave when His teaching became difficult for them to understand. He wanted to know if the apostles were going away also, to which Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68).
Followers have no where else to go other than leadership. When others turn to leaders, will they receive words of eternal life? Will they learn what to do to help them through life and gain eternity?
Where else can we go if not to spiritual leaders who desire only to make sure heaven is the goal, the word of God is the guide, the Savior is the way, and earthly leaders are trustworthy to provide the right guidance.
Love is a word in the English language that has come to have multiple meanings. Most often it is associated with feelings. When couples first date and then marry, the feelings experienced are associated with their idea of love. Sadly, when those feelings change or no longer exist they think they do not love the other person any more.
Biblically, love is so much more, it is about seeking the highest good for the other person. Love cannot be self-directed and direct the actions of others.
When leaders do this, it is generally because of selfish, ulterior motives. Again, this is not love.
When leaders truly understand and lead out of love for the souls of others, there is a willingness to sacrifice and determination to help others find a way to heaven. A couple of ideas about leading out of love:
Love gives without expecting to receive something in return.
Love seeks opportunity to serve in all situations.
Love desires the best for others, even at the cost of personal comfort.
Let us always lead out of love and know the power it brings to leadership.
Perhaps the title of the post better serves as an answer to the question; why do we lead?
A number of answers could be given to the question, and we must all examine the answer we would give.
There are those who lead for power. They simply want authority over others to direct and guide their movement.
Some lead because of crisis. When crisis strikes, it is common for individuals to be forced into a position of leadership.
Others lead because no one else will. Sadly, when good and godly leaders do not rise up, others will lead, but not always in the right direction.
Still, there are those who lead for the joy of it. They recognize the need, strive to develop a godly and Christlike character, and desire to see souls led to Christ.
When the combination of these three elements exist, great blessings will follow.
Even Paul referred to those who led with the wrong motives. The challenge for us is to examine why we lead and learn to lead for the joy of an eternal outcome that is worth the effort.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy
The subjects of leadership and learning have been discussed before.
However, coming across this quote by Kennedy raised a number of ideas that seemed important enough to revisit this idea.
A mindset does exist, often referred to as a leadership myth, that once someone becomes a leader they having nothing left to learn. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We have all seen, or perhaps known, someone who basically felt like they were God’s gift to humanity. They believe others are inferior and that they have little or nothing to learn, especially if they have already visited the situation before.
Arrogance is a dangerous attitude to possess. It leads to a lack of gratitude, separation, and a delusional personality. Ultimately, it destroys any possibility of leading, at least from a godly position.
Leaders must be constantly learning. They must learn about people. They must be, as Wayne Roberts often says, “A people of the Word and the world.”
Both require one to be a learner. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
Throughout the book of Psalms the phrase “with all my heart” is found several times.
The Psalmist identifies some key thoughts connected to this phrase.
The most common thought is that of giving thanks. Imagine the power of leadership involved in giving thanks with all their heart.
The second thought is about seeking the Lord. Spiritual leaders cannot be effective without the drive of seeking a relationship with the Lord.
A third thought associated with this phrase is observing God’s law or word. The very foundation of leadership must be laid on God’s word.
Understanding the implication of any activity that includes all of our heart is critical to growth in relationship with God. The two words that strike to the core of these Psalms and this post are “all” and “heart.”
Do we really connect with the idea of “all?” There is no room for any measure of self when all is given to the Lord.
The idea of “heart” involves the seat of one’s emotions and existence. Here is where the very will of leadership is rooted.
With all my heart is a study worth applying.