Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, February 29 - Am I A Leader Worth Following?

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” — James 4:10

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As leaders, here’s a question we need to ask and remind ourselves of daily: Am I worth following? Leadership expert John Maxwell says, “You’re not really a leader if you get to the top of the mountain alone; you’re just a hiker.”

I’m learning in my leadership journey that there are leaders at the top of the mountain yelling and screaming out orders to their followers to make the climb. Then there are other types of leaders who are down at the bottom of the mountain offering encouragement and advice on how to best climb the mountain. Two different types of leadership styles that aren’t necessarily wrong, and in some cases need to be implemented.

I’m more drawn to the leadership style of linking up arm and arm and climbing the mountain together. This is the type of leader I strive to be.

These five key principles can help us lead well:

1) FOLLOW well. I remember the game “Follow the Leader” and playing that with my friends when I was younger. I so loved being the leader rather than a follower. However, to be an effective leader, we must first learn how to follow well. Matthew 16:24 tells us, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Leader, are you following well?

2) SERVE well. Christ never calls us to be leaders, but rather servants. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Jesus, our greatest leader, models and teaches us the importance of serving as He washed His disciples’ feet that night in the upper room. One of my favorite quotes is, “You don’t have to be great to serve, but you have to serve to be great.” Leader, are you serving well?

3) LISTEN well. Mark Twain said, “If we were supposed to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear.” God tells us in James 1:19 that everyone should be quick to listen, but slow to speak. The book “Mindful Listening” emphasizes that to listen is to pay attention to. Listening means stepping outside of one’s own interest, actually wanting to know more, and caring what others’ interests are. Also shared in that book was, “Good listeners listen with their eyes, not just their ears, and refrain from offering suggestions.” Author Mark Goulston shares in his “Just Listen” book, “The secret to getting through to people is not talking at them but listening to them.” Leader, are you listening well?

4) LOVE well. I appreciate author Jon Gordon’s thoughts when he focuses on “Love Tough” rather than “Tough Love.” Love must proceed; love must come first. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us what love should (or shouldn’t) look like: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Leader, are you loving well?

5) GROW well. It is commonly said that if we are not growing we are dying. Growing in God requires you to connect with God. John 15:4 says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” If you aren’t reading His Word and learning from it, you can’t really grow. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Those uncomfortable moments were the moments God was stretching and growing me. Leader, are you growing well?

— Jim Good

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