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Everything rises and falls on leadership

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Jun 11, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” John Maxwell

If this statement is true, then the chief place to focus our attention will be on our own leadership. It is much easier to see the problems in someone else’s leadership and never see the issues in our own leadership. Jesus said it well, “First take out the plank that is in your own eye, then you will see clearly to take out the sliver that is in your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:5) The place to start is with ourselves.

What is rising or falling under our care? As Dallas Willard sets forth the question, “How is your kingdom doing?” We all have a circle of influence, a realm of control or responsibility. How is it going in that circle? Are those under my care and guidance faring well? Are they thriving? Gaining or losing confidence and skill? Do I know how they are doing? Do I care? Am I spending time to find out?

We must stay attentive. We must stay attentive. “Success is not final, and failure is not fatal.” We cannot afford to just work hard and achieve results, then relax and say, “It is done.” Whether we achieve success or realize failure, we must address the ongoing development of ourselves, our children, our people, our circle of influence, and our realm of responsibility. The reality of being a leader is the ongoing call to work and focus on the well-being of those under our care.

That is called being mindful that we are first and foremost servants to those we lead. They do not exist to give us a position of leadership or secure for us a salary. Rather we exist to serve them and care for their well-being. Jesus taught it perfectly when He said, “The greatest among us must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant…I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:26-27) Note the different words for servant. DOULOS used many times by Jesus, Paul, and others to define themselves as slaves to their Master without rights of their own, having one focus to do the Master’s will. Another word used was DIAKONOS and explained the servant’s duty to the King or the one in charge, to serve His interest and fulfill His commands. HUPARETAS is used by Paul to describe his service as the under rower in a galley ship, i.e. he was the lowest of the slaves in his position. Paul takes the lowest position before Christ and fellow servants. He shows his humility and lack of ambition to lord over others. He did not desire control.

Control is often the reward of being the leader. It can be intoxicating. One can feel powerful to snap their finger and see people jump or run. “Go” and they fly. “Stop” and they freeze. Control is the dream of paradise. They are powerful and successful.

The negative side of this control, however, is the fear that if others do not do exactly as you command all will be lost. Your counsel and wisdom alone have the answer to save the day. Or worse, if you do not know what to do, then there is no answer for the danger or problem that arises. Panic follows and anxiety grows to the size of Mount Everest. Sleep and stomach disorders become the constant companion of such leaders. They are under enormous stress. Control is a nightmare at this point. They are responsible for all that happens, and they feel like failures.

The liberation from either extreme is found in Jesus’ wise counsel. Become a servant like He was. He came to serve. Serve whom? The whining complainer? The abusive manipulator? The loud mouthed gossip? The repeated offender? Just whom are we serving?

1. We serve Jesus. Col. 3:24 boldly states, “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” He is the One to whom I give account. He is the One that supplies me with wisdom, strength, affirmation, ideas, and on and on as I need. “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not lack anything.” Psalm 23:1. He is the one who called us to the circle of influence we have. Let’s first be faithful to Him and love Him as we serve.

2. We serve people. Watch our Lord wash the disciples’ feet and follow that example (John 13:13-15). People are not labeled with “complainer” or “jerk” etc. They are the ones Christ wants me to treat as special and valuable. They are treasures from Him. I get the honor to serve them as a representative of His care, love, wisdom, and faithfulness. If they sin, we must serve them and get them back on track, restore them. If they fail, we must encourage them to get back up and try again. If they are ignorant, we must train and develop them. Our job is their improvement and health. Let us believe in them, encourage them, and love them.

3. We serve the future. 2 Tim. 2:2. The ones we serve influence others we may never meet or reach. They know others we do not know. They can multiply themselves and train their friends and family members just as we are training them. They will (if we train them to think this way) reproduce the very things we put into them in others’ lives. Our life is being reproduced over and over because the one we influenced is now influencing others outside of my circle of influence. What has happened? You have fruit that is bearing fruit that is bearing fruit again. If that happens through your life, you are most blessed. You have a third and fourth generation. May every one of us have such a rich blessing from God. Psalm 128:6 and 22:30-31 shows that our lives can exceed the years we live by influencing people who are yet to be born. This will be our reality only if we multiply our lives in others then through others.

Set you heart to serve others as God’s servant and your life will have His blessing. We are servants through whom others believe (1 Cor. 3:5). We are servants privileged to serve the Lord as we serve Him with all humility (Acts 20:19). We are servants wanting to be found trustworthy! (1 Cor. 4:2) We are servants waiting to hear one affirmation from our Master’s lips, “Well done! Good and faithful SERVANT.” Matt. 25:23