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Leaders Must Grow For Their Work To Grow!

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Nov 20, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

“If you have dreams, goals, or aspirations, you need to grow to achieve them… misconceptions about growth could be holding you back…” John Maxwell (15 Invaluable Laws of Growth)

 I have never met a leader who did not want their ministry or influence to grow. The word “growth” is exciting to all of us. Do you have the potential to grow? That is the most exciting word to read, that you have the potential to grow and develop. It is filled with optimism and hope!

But what of unfulfilled potential? It is the exact opposite of potential. It is sad and negative. Who wants to die without realizing their dreams? When this person dies the dreams they had also die. They may have had the potential, but it was unfulfilled potential.  We think of a few of the “unfulfilled potential” people seen in the Old Testament like King Saul, or Samson, or even Demas from the New Testament. They could have been great leaders! They could have been a great preacher, teacher, trainer, etc. They could have been… what a tragedy!  I cry out, “May it never be!”  However, the reality is, that it is extremely common for people to die before discovering their gifts, or for their following a plan that helps them grow and accomplish their God- given dream or vision.

By the way, if you have been given a dream from God, no one else will ever benefit from it until you “go after it”, or should I say “grow after it”.  You have been given special gifts and put in your own personal circumstances in order to develop you into the person that can make your dream a reality. It is important to understand that there are probably people praying for someone with your dream to show up and help them!   You are the answer to someone’s prayer!  So you must determine to grow so that you can accomplish that dream!

I want to pass on something that will help you on your journey of growth. It is an analogy from a lecture by John Maxwell. If you have a tree in your yard and every day you take your axe and chop on it five times, what will eventually happen to that tree? Right!… It will fall down! No matter how small or big the tree, the outcome is the same. Now, in our lives, it is important to figure out, what is the “tree” for you? What is the axe? And what are the five decided actions you must do every day, in order to chop your tree down?

Firstly, what is your tree? This is the beginning of the process. Has God given you a tree to chop down? Like Caleb, will you say, “Give me this mountain” or for our analogy, “Give me this tree!” Be clear and write down the identity of this tree. Caleb’s tree was his desire to overcome the land where the giants who had terrified the earlier generation lived. That “tree” had stopped the earlier generation from possessing the land that God promised to them. Caleb was filled with the passion to conquer that mountain so that later generations would be encouraged to trust in God’s promises and power. Every tree represents a challenge that God will help us overcome!

Next, what is the axe? For Caleb it was God’s promise. God promised to be with the Jews as they took possession of the land, the Promised Land. What has He promised us?  There are over 7000 promises to encourage us to tackle the job!  We show our confidence in His promise to us when we take that “axe” (His promise) and begin to strike the tree.  Behind every promise is God’s presence and power to accomplish the impossible. Every promise is linked to His purpose to redeem and love others into a relationship with Himself. The axe is what empowers us do the impossible. Remember the story in 2 Kings 6:1ff when the man lost his axe head and could no longer cut down the tree. He could not go forward until he recovered that axe head. This is also true of us!   We must have the power, presence, promise, and purpose of God as we strike the tree before us.

Lastly, what are the “five chops” you will commit to do every day?  For each of us this varies. It depends on the tree that you are taking down. These daily choices will begin changing you as a person. These five choices cause growth in you. The next time you hit the tree you are wiser, stronger, and more effective. Each day you change just a bit as a result of the choices you make.

These 5 choices are what experts refer to as “vital behaviors.”  They are life giving or character building decisions. Choices that make a difference in how you think, feel, or work. Get it? For me the number one decision I make for my five is prayer. That choice changes everything for me!  It is a vital behavior that strengthens my spirit, refreshes my heart, renews my mind, enlightens my darkness, and fortifies my courage. Prayer is without a doubt one of the most powerful decisions I make each day. For the last 20 years I have devoted at least an hour each day to this discipline.  We could spend several pages talking just about that! Another is meditation on the Bible. I choose verses to memorize and read and think over them and over them and over them, like a cow chewing his cud. This habit I have practiced for years and it has cause innumerable results, especially in insight or wisdom. I would rather be wise than intelligent,  Spirit led rather than clever.  Good decisions and proper vision comes from how we see things. We must see things from God’s perspective to make the best decisions. This is even more important when we think of eternity and our accountability to God.

      You will make your five decisions each and every day, and each decision will be one more hit on that tree, bringing you one step closer to accomplishing the impossible!  Now it may be, that your five chosen decisions actually only take a few minutes of your day when you start out on this journey. Start with that, and let them grow as time goes on. Believe me they will change you more than anything else!

I hope this short article encourages you to start in a direction for growth in your life and ministry. Each day matters and no day should be wasted, especially by those who are serious about reaching their potential. It is going to be that step by step we become all God wants us to be, or we can be like the Jews who wandered around in a circle for 40 years and died accomplishing nothing. May this never be!

Our Father,  I thank You for the potential each of us has been given by You. Each strength, gift, our personality, our circumstances are all from You, to make us better leaders. May we effectively make a difference. Show each of us the tree we need to cut down. Empower us with the axe of Your presence and power, the axe of Your promises. As we strike at that tree each day encourage us to not grow weary in well doing for we know that in due season the day is coming when that tree will fall. Thank You,  in Jesus Name,  for the confident victory we can have as we live to honor You. It is in Jesus’ Name we ask this. Amen.