CHAPTER 5: A LEADER RADIATES COMMITMENT
It was a long day, and I was fatigued. One of the members of the church sidled up to me and asked if I could spare a few minutes to discuss something that’s bothering him. My inner voice wanted to say no and head home to unwind. But I heard myself saying to him, “Yes sure, Brother”. If you are a leader, you have faced different variations of such incidents. Leadership is not for those who want to do the minimum amount of effort. Often, leaders are called to perform beyond what is expected of the rank and file members of the organization. As someone once said, "Without passion, a person will have very little influence as a leader."
A passionate leader is 100% committed to the logos and vision of the organization. Such a commitment can be seen in how much time and resources the leader commits to the pursuit of the goals of the group. For example, a leader who is habitually late during meetings telegraphs his lack of interest in the organization’s purpose. Conversely, a leader who comes to meetings on time and well-prepared conveys the high value he places on their work.
Commitment is not merely following some rules. It is the willingness to go over and beyond the call of duty. In the office, a committed leader is eager to take the extra effort to assist the team cross the finish line of a challenging project. In the church, a dedicated leader is willing to spend extra time to counsel hurting members. This is how Paul expressed his passion in building up the Thessalonian church, “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). Note that he emphasizes each one of the members of the church. He is passionate about all the sheep under his care.
Where does one draw that level of commitment? Several incentives in this world could spur a person to give her 100% in leading a group. In secular work, earning more money has been a powerful incentive that fortifies people’s resolve to work assiduously. This reality is the reason why managers are given perks and privileges that progressively increase as one ascends the ladder of success. For other leaders, the lure of power and prestige are irresistible forces that enable them to give their utmost best.
However, for a Christian, such earth-bound incentives are at best peripheral. The Bible tells her that the riches, pleasures, and honor of this world are transient (2 Corinthians 4:18). She knows that ultimately there is no profit even if she gains the whole world but loses her soul (Mark 8:38). Even non-Christians are aware that there is more to life than just money and material things. They know that without work-life balance, the rat-race of life will become unbearable.
As a Christian, where should you draw the motivation to serve others? Paul was one of the all-time great leaders of the Bible. He was willing to spend and be spent for others (2 Corinthians 12:15). He suffered horrible persecution on multiple occasions, at one time even being stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33). Nearing the end of his life, he could say, “I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith. I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7). What kept him going amidst the most difficult of conditions? I think we can gain insight from his confession.
On one occasion, Paul said that “the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). In all that he and his fellow workers did, there is one driving force, and that is the love of Christ for them. In the same verse, Paul said that Christ died for all His people. In other words, a deep sense of the sacrificing love of the Lord empowered Paul in serving Him despite the most intense opposition.
Without a powerful motive, a leader’s commitment will sag under the constant stress that is sure to come. For the Christian, it is only a deep-seated appreciation of what Christ did for her can sustain her resolve to serve in the ministry or her other callings in life.
“The world is run by tired men”. That quote has been attributed to Winston Churchill, one of the greatest leaders of the last century. But you don’t have to be a Churchill to appreciate what he said. We might as well say that tired pastors run the church, or tired managers lead the office. Leaders have to face the fact that there will be physical, mental, and emotional stresses that go with the job. It may not be in the job description, but every leader is aware of what it is like to be tired.
It is during such times that your commitment will be put to a withering test. There will be times when you would rather quit. Times when self-pity may rear its ugly head and say, you have done your part, and it’s time to call it quits. It is in such moments that a leader’s commitment to his logos will be tested. For the Christian, the high calling of Jesus should spur her to persevere in whatever organization she leads.
Recently, one of the offices I head underwent a major organizational overhaul. It took some time to untangle certain nagging issues, and there were times when I got frustrated in the process. There were nights when I was ready to give up. During such moments, I mused that maybe the Lord was leading me to go somewhere else. However, I stayed on by His grace, and now I see why. After undergoing the painful change process, the fruits are becoming visible in terms of organizational vibrancy and focus.
But here we have to be careful. There is a commitment that leads a person to sacrifice more important things in her life because of a desire to attain the goal of her organization. We have heard of the many horror stories where a successful leader fails in the most critical aspects of life.
For instance, a pastor can be so “committed” to the church that he reneges on his duties as a husband and father. A mother can be a successful executive in a multinational corporation, and yet her family life lies in tatters. Such a “commitment” to lead fails to recognize that God has given us multiple callings, which we need to prioritize according to what He revealed in His word. We need to pray that God will grant us a spirit of discernment in this area.
1. Assess your level of commitment to your organization and its message
2. Are you ready to exert extra effort to help others in your organization?
3. Are you able to maintain the right balance in your various callings?
 Michele Payn-Knoper https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/100-answers-to-the-question-what-is-leadership.html Accessed 3/12/19