I heard a message last night by Roger Yancy, the DOM of Tryon-Evergreen Baptist Association. It’s possible none of that meant anything to you, but what he said probably would have. He spoke on servant-leadership.
It seems God intends us to live our lives leading others into fruitfulness by serving them. The task is daunting. The servant is not just the waiter, he is the example of how a waiter waits. A servant-leader must be what he wants others to become. That’s the part that changed a good presentation into a message from the Lord. That’s where God stopped time and aimed my thoughts toward the video He was playing in my mind of my own life in comparison to what Dr. Yancy was saying. Quite painful.
I grew up during the era where dads’ said, “Do what I say, not what I do.” It was as if we were wired to responded to command over against example. At the heart was an admission, “I don’t want you to be like I am. I want more for you.” But what does that “more” look like? How is it implemented in a life? How close is it to where I am living now? Is it reachable or merely an empty promise?
It’s like the theorists who believe the world would be better if their ideals were practiced but are content to live in the meantime contrary to those ideals. Like people who adamantly accuse combustive engines for polluting the world, yet drive or fly to the venue where they reverberate the air with the damage they themselves have helped create.
Where’s integrity? The servant-leader may still have further to go and lives anticipating more to follow, but he lives in the meantime demonstrating the expectations he places on others. Pressing them toward godliness, he lives a godly life. Urging them toward purity, he lives a pure life. Suggesting change that helps them better reflect the image of Jesus in their lives, he holds himself up as an example of what that change can look like.
Whether in the home, organization or church, the servant-leader remains the best visual to help others find their way. And since we never reach perfection, even our stumbling becomes a lesson on humility. We cannot lead others where we have not been. We can point them beyond where we are but we can only lead them down familiar paths.
An old Indian guide was leading a tourist through the forest. The tourist asked the guide, where is the path? The guide said, “I am your path. Follow me.”
Jesus said the same to His men. Whenever they asked where they were going, He would remind them, “Just follow Me, I am your way.” And in that He set the example of how we were to lead others.