Monday, July 14, 2014

Lead by Example

Last fall my son Cooper played football for a local optimist team. When they started practicing I noticed something about Cooper's work ethic when it came to practice. They would normally stretch out and then run two laps around the perimeter of the field. With Cooper being taller than all the other kids on his team (and 99% of the league) I was surprised that his size didn't translate into a first place finish on the two laps they ran after warming up. After a few practices I really started paying attention to the situation and the reason for him not coming in first place made me proud.

Misty and I have taught the boys from a young age that they need to be leaders in all they do rather than being followers. We've taught them that whether it's sports, school or church, they need to use the gifts God has given them to be leaders in every aspect of life. We've told them the reason they have to lead effectively is because others will follow them and they need to lead in the right way. When I started watching Cooper run I noticed that all but one other kid would cut the corners of the field and with each corner gain a sizable lead on Cooper. He was precise in his corners. He had a laser focus until he reached the corner and didn't cut the least bit of the corner. The one kid following him stayed right behind Cooper. Cooper was bummed because he wasn't coming in first but I told him not to worry about it because he was doing the right thing and he would be stronger for going the extra distance others weren't willing to go. The more laps they ran the more followers Cooper had on the outer corners. Eventually the coaches took notice of Cooper, told all the kids to follow Cooper, and because of his hard work, Cooper was made team Captain.

When it comes to every aspect of life we need to be prepared to lead and lead by example. We garner no respect from our fellow believers, employees, or family members if all we do is direct and command them instead of leading them. The greatest example we could ever hope to see on this matter comes to us from John 13. This is where we see Jesus leading by example. During His final meal with His disciples, Jesus takes time to wash the feet of the disciples. This task was a servant's job and Jesus being a renown teacher and prophet He should never have done this task. But Jesus leads the disciples here by setting the example of how to be a servant to their fellow man. In verse 15 Jesus even says, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (NIV). If we want to effectively lead in every aspect of our life then we need to follow Jesus' example and lead by example. When we do others will follow. Employees will be motivated. Our family will be inspired. And other believers will be encouraged.

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