Proverbs 21: 1 (the message)
Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses.
I’ll bet, if you are like I used to be, you might read that and think “oh, well I’m not a leader.” Some of you will read this verse and it’s glaringly obvious you are a leader! Perhaps you are a “born” leader and everyone realizes that about you. Perhaps in your career or vocation you are in management and have people who follow your lead. But…
Perhaps you teach a preschool class full of 3-year-olds (and you know who you are!) or a class full of teens. Perhaps you teach Sunday School. Perhaps as a volunteer you organize within an organization or your church. Perhaps you take care of the sick in a hospital. Perhaps you get up every day and change diapers or chase peanut-butter smeared hands around the house. Perhaps you are dealing with the complaints and grievances of others all day. Perhaps you are in a later season of life and you spend much time investing in grandchildren and great-grands. Perhaps you stand at a register in a department store or a gas station and deal with the public non-stop. Don’t tell me you don’t influence others…don’t tell me you don’t lead.
I have been taught that leadership is influence. I always saw my husband and my best friend as the “leaders.” They have that natural personality that can take charge and make decisions. I have been quite content to be in what I saw as a supportive and “helper” role in life. I never wanted “leadership.” Never had any ambitions to direct anyone! What I discovered was that in fact true leadership is all about influence and each of us has a sphere of influence. Can you see that? Will you believe that even as you take direction from others you have the opportunity to influence those around you?
The crux of the matter is found in the verse above. Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God. The question we must begin with, after establishing we have the potential to influence those around us either positively or negatively, is do we have the desire to be “good” leaders or influencers? Being real, if you don’t care what kind of influence you have on others you must start there. We must be willing to let God reveal to us the importance and potential greatness in our influence. The kicker is that having a healthy and amazing influence on others only happens as Jesus flows through our lives. It only happens as we become channels, or vessels, for God to lead and direct. The greatest leaders are the most humble servants.
I can promise you this morning God wants to do great things in you and through you. I can tell you from my own life how truly blown away I have become as I realized that leadership is all about surrender. The more I live surrendered to God, letting Him lead and control my life, the greater my sphere of influence has grown. Is that me? Is that a result of some talent, gift, ability or personality type? Not hardly. Check out the second part of that verse…he directs it to whatever ends he chooses. See, when we finally decide to just go for it…to dive in head-first…to close our eyes and just follow Jesus all the way, He will direct us to whatever end He chooses. And I can promise you it will be unbearably amazing! More than you could have imagined! Do I mean it’s “big” in human terms? No. It’s big and amazing and wonderful because your life begins to affect others…this Holy Spirit leading you begins to speak through you, love through you, pray through you. You become more genuine and real. As your life is filled daily with the Holy Spirit He spills out of you. And people taste a bit of Jesus. They see your story…your life…your healing…and they grow hopeful. This is life to the fullest.
Wherever you find yourself today, don’t discount your assignment. Ask God to open your eyes to see your leadership. Your influence. It’s not about power or pride. It’s all about a life filled and overflowing with Jesus. He changes everything. You aren’t really living until you are giving yourself away. Give away the good stuff. Let God transform your life from perhaps a stagnant body of water with eyes focused on self to a rushing river where everyday is an adventure because you never know where God will take you. Let Him show you the potential impact you have on those around you…the little people in your life, the rushing customers, the complaining and bitter employees, the sick and uncomfortable patients and scared family members. My goodness people need Love. They need Jesus.
Lead them to Him.