You can almost predict how our great American leaders in Washington might act or react to the challenges of our society. Step one – scream at somebody. Step two – blame somebody else. Step three – schedule a press conference to get ahead of the story. Step four – spin baby spin!
coun·ter·in·tu·i·tive – koun(t)ərinˈt(y)o͞oədiv – adjective – contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation (but often nevertheless true).
But what if there is a better way to address problems, or even address problem people? What if we’ve been handling our leadership responsibilities wrong over all these centuries? What if there was a way that leaders could lead, people be served, trust is generated, and solutions could be found and activated? I know; it seems like an impossible dream. But what if it could really happen?
According to Jesus of Nazareth, it can happen. According to His life, it will cost something. Based on His story, and His impact, there is but one model for us to turn to. HIS WAY.
Here are five ways of sure success as we face
the turbulent and challenging days ahead.
- SERVE OTHERS RATHER THAN WANTING TO BE SERVED: That’s a loaded statement, but it’s a power-packed truth that every leader we elect, call, or hire should grasp with desperate understanding! That is as counterintuitive and as counter-cultural as you can get. In Matthew 20:25-27… “Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave;.”
- LOVE OTHERS, ESPECIALLY YOUR ENEMIES: Nothing could sound more preposterous than loving your enemy. I mean, those people hate me. I can’t love them. But Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” That was His word for how we are to engage with folks we agree with, but He drops the microphone with this, from Matthew 5:43-47, “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?
- IF YOU’VE GOT IT, GIVE IT AWAY! How insane is that? Give away what I have? Chuck, you’ve lost your marbles! God wasn’t playing around when He instructed Paul to write these words, “Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. As it is written: He distributed freely; he gave to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Jesus pointed out the most unlikely leader to His disciples as the offering was being offered one day; “While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Luke 21:1-4
- REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM: God inspired these words from Proverbs 3, “My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being. Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and high regard with God and people.” A hearty dose of humility would be a massive step in the right direction!
- YOU HAVE A GIFT, USE IT WELL! If you’ve been blessed and honored to lead anything, hear these words, because you are being held to a higher standard whether you like it or not. “But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Luke 12:48
We do not have time to sit and wait on another generation to right this ship we live on. We need men and women to step up and lead well. It has been said that the definition of leadership is influence. While I agree with that, I also know that influence alone isn’t nearly enough. If influence is all we need, we are in trouble. Charles Manson had influence. Adolf Hitler had influence. We need leaders not made up with a shell of influence but instead built with courage, tenacity, and the critical ingredient – Godly Character!
Join me in praying for those leaders to step into our halls of justice, politics, business, and most especially, our churches.