Looking out for the good of others

Thinking about the definition of leadership from the last post that is under girded with the desire for success of everyone that is around us kind of through me for a loop yesterday.

In my 6 ½ years in the land of great customer service, Japan, (minus the fact that they lie from time to time) it seems that customer service has gotten worse here in the United States. Yesterday I was on the phone with customer service and I was getting three different stories from three different people. Normally under these circumstances I feel free to point out how horrible the customer service is or how I have been wronged etc with little to no concern about the person on the other end of the phone. One time I actually felt like I had gone too far and called back and apologized but usually I just vent to some degree and move on.

Yesterday, though, I was thinking about how if I want to be like Christ I have to have concern for the person on the other end of the phone even when I feel like I am getting the shaft from their company or product or whatever. Some I am 24 hours into trying to be like Christ with complete strangers and not really sure what to do in certain situations.

While pulling out of the parking lot on a date with my youngest daughter Megan a car pulled behind us to get in the drive through lane. Not a big deal, I can be patient when I need to be. The next guy purposefully didn’t look at me at all and pulled up right behind me as well. I am continually amazed at how people don’t look out for anyone’s interests but their own especially in a case like this where it doesn’t cost them anything to help someone else out.

I jumped out of my car and walked over to the car to ask the guy to at least pull up to the bumper of first car that was behind me so that I can pull out. He won’t look at me and his female companion in the passenger seat leans over and locks the door. Seeing her lock the door really through me for a loop. What did she think I was going to do? Start screaming and want to fight? I guess in our country there aren’t enough people living like Jesus so that we automatically assume the worst of those around us. As I sat back down in my car and waited for that guy to pull forward, (the next car let me out, thankfully) I thought about how we have to go overboard to be Christ in the world around us because of how people automatically look at strangers with distrust.

The cool thing about our journey with Christ is how the Spirit of God applies different things to our lives. Looking out for the good of others would look completely different for you than for me. Right now, I think God is impressing on me the need to be looking out for the good of complete strangers that more than likely I will only have one contact with in life.

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Definition of Leadership

I was at a men’s bible study last week and heard a definition of leadership that was shared there.

See a perceived need, develop a biblical plan to meet it and empower everyone involved by your personal love and commitment.

They are still working on refining it, but Bob Butz the guy who shared the definition with me, said that the over riding principle the under girds it all is an intrinsic desire to see everyone around them succeed.

As I spent a little time in his office, I noticed that he was truly concerned with the people that he came into contact with.  His accountant called to say that he had accidentally double paid 5 people.  He handled the issue with grace and then asked the accountant about one of the employee’s health and another’s marriage and promised his prayers.

While I didn’t witness any perceived needs being met in my short time there I did witness an intrinsic desire for the good of everyone around them even as they thought about how to best help employees that weren’t really pulling their weight.

It’s always fun to see people that are truly trying to lead as they think Jesus would.  As we allow our hearts and minds to be transformed by the Word and the Spirit of God we will live, love and lead like Jesus.

Get out of a Book Free Card

“Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt.” -Seth Godin, The Dip

At the table one time with fork in hand, I remember thinking I really don’t want to eat all the food on my plate. I know it’s the polite thing to do and there are still starving kids in Africa but what in the world did that have to do with me eating more food than I should?

There was a sense of freedom that came in that moment as I walked my plate over to the trashcan and scraped my leftovers into the trash with my fork. No longer would I be ensnared by the need to finish my plate of food without mitigating circumstances; guest in another person’s home etc.

I think Seth Godin’s quote applies to great readers as well. Great readers quit fast, quit often and quit without guilt. How many times have you been stuck in the middle of a book that you are dreading (and I am not referring to one that you have been assigned to read) but you keep slogging through it anyway just so you can have a sense of completion at the end.

You have never gone too far down the wrong road to turn back. –Turkish Proverb

In The Dip, Goodin also states that, “we fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.”

If you are in the middle of book and there discover that it is not helping you, and in fact, it is draining you I give you the permission to not finish the book. If this goes against every grain in your body you can fill out the form below.

Get Out of a Book Free Card

I hereby give myself permission to not finish the next book

I find myself in the middle of that is not profitable for me.

___________ ___________

Name Date

Now you might find yourself stuck in a book because it is stretching you either in your thinking, reading ability or challenging your current paradigm. These might be good books to slog through as they will help you grow. But if you are reading a book that isn’t going to help you than get rid of it and use the Get out of a Book Free Card if you need to.

Am I going too far?

Last night was the 4th of July and it was a lot of fun. For the first time in our families history none of my kids were crying or asking to leave early because of the ear splitting, chest thumping, heart stopping explosions of fireworks.

As we were leaving the house I decided to grab the small travel book light that my wife had purchased for my birthday earlier this year. One of our friends mentioned that that is when my reading kick had gone too far, by bringing a book light and book to the fireworks show.

For a minute I was thinking maybe she was right. I only did read few pages with the book light, after it was pretty dark but while we listed to the band play favorite songs from years gone by and everyone did motions to YMCA. Reading only lasted a few minutes until my kids decided it was time to wrestle again. This morning as I thought about I figured that I only did read about 10 to 15 pages over the course of the 4 hours. But it was 10 to 15 pages that I wouldn’t have read had I not brought a book with me. Most of the pages were read as I was riding the city bus back to pick up the car for my family but I did read 2 or 3 pages with the book light.

Did I go too far? Nope, not at all. In fact, I might need to consider bringing a book light to more locations. :-)