July 8 – Leadership

Read Matthew 5:13-16

Leadership. 

Interesting word.  According to a survey done over 10 years ago, there were over 15,000 books in print about leadership.  15,000!  What images immediately come to your mind when you think of leadership.  Do you think of ORG charts, thrones and crowns, or plush offices?  Or perhaps you think of the person or persons who are in charge.  Over the years we have seen implosions in leadership in government, churches, businesses, and non-profits.  Those stories and experiences are sad and make us wonder: what is real leadership and why is it so easy to write about and so hard to do?

Over the next two weeks we are going to dive into what God says in the Word about leadership.  Now, before you delete the email and cross yourself off the list proclaiming, “I’m not a leader” let’s make sure we’re on the same page.  When most of us think of leadership, we think of the gift or skill of leading.  It’s someone who goes first, gathers people, casts vision, and leads teams and organizations in particular directions.  Chances are most people don’t see themselves as that kind of a leader.  However, leadership defined at its core essence is ‘influence’.  Organizational leaders might have the skill of leveraging their influence, but the truth is that everyone has influence.  Some have a lot of it and others have some of it.  But everyone has influence.  Since you’re included in ‘everyone’, my friend, you have influence!  As followers of Christ, we are called by God to leverage our influence for spiritual impact. 

In the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus said,

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16

You have influence.  You are called to leverage your influence.  Whether you are a leader of a company, lead your shift at work, lead your Grace Group, lead a team of young athletes, or lead your children at home, you have influence.  You are called to leverage that influence in a way that both honors God and helps others discover a relationship with God.  In the passage above, Jesus doesn’t tell us to become salt or become light, He says we are salt and we are light because we have a relationship and connection with Him.  Now, take who you are in Jesus and leverage it for the sake of others so they will see your work and give glory to Your Father in Heaven!  When leaders leverage their authentic influence, Jesus is made famous. 

Are you ready to leverage your influence?  Take 5 minutes and write down the names of people God has placed in your life with whom you have influence.  Pray over their name and ask God to open doors of opportunity for you to lead for God’s sake!

Nick Cleveland

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