I have a good friend who is serving in a sensitive country and has done so with his family for many years. Recently he wrote me the following:
Dave, these words have been rattling around in my mind for a week now. Leaders:
Aspire (vision – “see the better future” as you recently wrote)
Inspire (vision casting – “rally others” as you recently wrote)
Perspire (lead well, work hard, blood sweat and tears)
Expire (leave well)
I offered to let him write a guest post fleshing out his thoughts, but he suggested that I do it. So, building on what K wrote above:
We are encouraged in I Timothy 3:1 (ESV): “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”
One church I know of called their leadership development process “Aspire.”
On the other hand, Paul warns us in Philippians 1:17 (ESV): “The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition.” And in Philippians 2:3 (ESV) “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” My take-away is that it’s a good thing to aspire to leadership, but for the right motives: to honor him, not myself; to bring glory to him, not to me. Oh, that more and more young people would aspire to leadership and would step up and step out to serve Jesus with pure and honorable motives.
One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to inspire, motivate and lift the level of everyone on the team and in the ministry. Recently I read and was impressed with Paul from Acts 20:2 (The Message): “Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.” That’s leadership at the core. The leader who aspires must also inspire if visions are to be realized and goals accomplished.
It was Arnold Palmer who, when told he was lucky, responded with: “It’s funny, but the harder I work the luckier I get.” There is no substitute for good old-fashioned hard work. I’m reminded of the Investment advertisement by a major firm that said, “We make the money the old fashioned way. We work for it.” Most successful endeavors are 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. In our effort to live out our God-given vision and goals, let’s be willing, even eager, to work up a good sweat for the Saviour.
A couple who had been serving the Lord overseas for many years arrived in the U.S. on a ship which also had Teddy Roosevelt on board. Many turned out to welcome the president but no one was there to welcome this older couple. The husband sadly remarked to his wife, that there was no one to welcome them home, but she replied:
“But honey, we are not home yet.”
One day we who are Christians will expire and be home with our wonderful Lord and Savior. By his grace we will hear those gracious words: “Well done good and faithful servant.” It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. All the aspiring, inspiring and perspiring days of our walk with him and His work through us will be over. By his grace may we leave a solid and lasting legacy.