“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of life is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.” William Arthur Ward
Learning, growing, changing, overcoming, caring, serving, daring, befriending and giving are the key elements to the activity of great leaders.
However, additional words found in the thought of the day are also significant to understanding our leadership: adventure, purpose, nature, challenge, essence, opportunity, secret, spice and beauty.
Both lists are connected and key to a life well lived. Also, each word is intricately positioned and lends to the development of godly leaders.
Consider how we might incorporate the development of each of these words one day or one week at time to lead as God intends us to lead.
Thanksgiving Day is one celebrated with family and friends in a fellowship that often times only comes around once a year.
However, today is one day among many for Christian leaders to reflect upon their leadership, remember their purpose, and express gratitude for the providential working of God’s hand to place us where we are as leaders.
While I am thankful to God for what He has done in my life, I am also thankful for the individuals He has placed in my life.
I am blessed with three wonderful Christian children who are all married to special Christian mates, and I am thankful for each. I am doubly blessed to have eight grandchildren who make me smile just thinking about them.
I am thankful for friends and co-workers who continue to help me grow.
However, I am most thankful for an incredible wife. Her love is immeasurable. Her selfless character has extended beyond boundaries that can be explained in a few words. Her hand is the one I am thankful to be holding when the heavens open, and as the song says, she is Golden!
Gentleness paints a beautiful picture in contrast to pride and power. Therefore, humility and lowliness are critical components to this fruit of the Spirit.
Rooted in the example of Jesus and the plea of a Savior who possesses it and provides sweet rest for the lives of those who will come to Him, we find rich biblical teaching for Christians to demonstrate gentleness.
The other-directed nature of this fruit of the Spirit is opposed by those who foster aggression, self-promotion and who aspire to positions of power.
However, three special thoughts help cultivate gentleness in our lives: altering our posture through prayer, learning to yield and spending time with those of “no account.”
Kneeling in prayer and speaking to God about those who have wronged or angered us increases the difficulty of speaking harshly to them.
Pride is the great enemy of a humility demonstrated by learning to yield our will to that of someone else.
Jesus provided an example of hospitality extended to others who do not have status or a position of power in the eyes of the world.
Three steps, powerful ways to cultivate gentleness.
Leadership awareness involves a knowledge or perception of the situation or fact.
Leaders need to have a self-awareness, i.e. an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, an awareness of who they are, where they are going, and how they plan to reach the destination.
Leaders also need an awareness of others, i.e. an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of those who are following, an awareness of how to help others reach their greatest potential and achieve the goals of the organization.
Leaders should also be aware of the environment, i.e. an awareness of available resources, an awareness of the obstacles, the reality of progress, and open doors of opportunity.
Having a knowledge of each situation benefits leaders in developing themselves, guiding others in developing the qualities of success, and preparing to face every obstacle with the strength needed to seize opportunities.
Spiritual leaders are leading from a dual-world mindset: physical and spiritual. The desire is to help meet the needs of the present with a focus on achieving the bigger picture of an eternal future.
Leaders are dealers in hope. This does not mean controversial challenges or issues are eliminated from leadership. Also, it does not mean problems in relationships disappear.
If anything, these will always continue to plague the lives of leaders and followers.
The difference is found in that measure of hope leaders provide.
Let us not be quick to rebuke. Never be the first to look at the negative. May we not be involved in seeking to condemn.
Spiritual leaders have the great privilege of providing the greatest answer for the ills so characteristic of humanity…hope!
A measure of hope lifts the spirit out of the pits of despair and aids the healing of brokenness.
A measure of hope drives us through each day with the promise of something better.
A measure of hope strengthens the will to survive and reach into the future with anticipation.
A measure of hope encourages the oppressed who suffer with the temporal nature of life.
We all need hope. The world is searching for hope.
Leaders have an opportunity to share a message to move others from hopeless to hopeful.
“Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders.” ~ John Holt
While others have made similar statements, the prevalent thought is significant to leadership. The task is about helping others become leaders. Only then, through the reproducing of ourselves, can Christians fulfill the Great Commission and change the world by teaching those who are faithful to teach others also, the great concept of spiritual leadership.
Let us lead with the qualities and purpose of biblical leadership.
Recently, Dr. Scott Sunquist at Fuller Theological Seminary spoke about an interesting connection between these two words: suffering and glory. Take time to look through God’s word and see how they relate and the connection of them to the life of Jesus.
Certainly, we are all aware of how Jesus suffered while here on earth. The persecution he endured, the despising of shame he encountered, and the ultimate sacrifice at the cross.
What is amazing is how John describes the glory of Jesus in the Revelation. Of all the terms that could have been used: sovereign Lord, Prince of peace, Mighty God, Creator, or Christ; John uses the term “Lamb.” Why Lamb? Because He was the sacrifice for the world. Suffering cannot be separated from the glory.
No one longs for or anticipates suffering. We long for and anticipate the glory to come, but we must realize the suffering related to that glory and lead with an understanding of such.
Paul identifies that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared to the glory to be revealed to us, but the suffering does come first.