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When growing as a leader there are many places that you look to learn from. Good Bosses, Bad Bosses, Good Books, Good Blogs and sometimes even the news.
I try to keep informed of world events but not spend too much time watching or reading the news. Today I read an article with a great lesson for all growing leaders. This article on President George W. Bush encouraged me. In today’s political photo-op climate too much is done for the camera. While I think the George Bush has been fiscally too generous and much maligned by the media I think there are some really cool things about him as a man and as a leader.
In the article a story is told of a wounded veteran who President Bush scrapped the planned schedule to spend a couple of hours with. I think one of the greatest things about President Bush is that from a distance it appears that he is doing what he believes is right without regard to what is popular or how people will respond to his decisions. That speaks of leadership character that is growing less common each day. We all want to be regarded of highly by those around us. Those who truly are great are the ones who entrust themselves to the judge who really matters. In 1 Peter 2:23b we read, “Instead, he (Jesus) entrusted himself to him (God the Father) who judges justly.”
If we desire to lead like Jesus we will entrust ourselves to God, realizing that he alone is the one whose judgment we should be concerned about.
Charles Spurgeon, a great spiritual leader in his own right, and his wife, according to a story in the Chaplain magazine, would sell, but refused to give away, the eggs their chickens laid. Even close relatives were told, “You may have them if you pay for them.” As a result some people labeled the Spurgeons greedy and grasping.
They accepted the criticisms without defending themselves, and only after Mrs. Spurgeon died was the full story revealed. All the profits from the sale of eggs went to support two elderly widows. Because the Spurgeons where unwilling to let their left hand know what the right hand was doing (Matt. 6:3), they endured the attacks in silence. (From Bible.Org)
I don’t know President Bush’s motives for keeping his visits and letters away hidden from the press. But I know this, one leadership lesson I learned from the news today is to do you good deeds in secret entrusting Christ to reward you.
Earlier this week I watched the mission and was challenged to fight injustice in the world around me. At first my thought was that there aren’t any big injustices that I can see right in Okinawa. Then I remembered that we go to the beach by our house nearly every day and there is a homeless guy (or not so homeless since he built a little house) but still I don’t think he has any source of income.
In the past he has readily accepted drinks and I have seem him on collecting cans around the beach. So I decided that I it would be no big deal to bring the coke cans that we collect in our building to him each week.
So Tuesday I brought the cans home and told my kids I was going to be giving them to the homeless guy on the beach. I asked the kids if they wanted to give him anything. Adrianne and Megan both dug into their piggy banks and pulled out the bulk of their YEN to give to him. Jack grabbed a plate of food that Jen made of our left over dinner that we had just finished.
We walked over to the homeless man’s house and the kids were asking what we would do if he wasn’t there. “We’ll just leave it for him to pick up later.” Thankfully he was there. Jack offered him the food. Both of the girls laid their YEN on a crate that was sitting at his feet. I offered him the cans which he took and placed in his can pile He was very grateful and offered lots of thanks to us. He focused on the cans. I think it gave him a little dignity in the midst of his situation. It’s a lesson I learned from my Dad 18 1/2 years ago when I was 16. My Dad was trading one of our cars for a pool table. I remember asking why we would be doing that when the pool table would take up all of the garage and we were moving soon anyway.
My Dad took me to the man’s house when we picked up the table. Even though the car was probably about 10 years old or more it had been immaculately kept. I remember the man telling us that he had never owned a car that nice. As we left the house my Dad explained that taking the pool table in trade allowed the man to “pay” for the car instead of just giving it to him which my Dad probably would have been glad to do. I caught the value of helping someone keep their dignity even when helping them out.
Hopefully my kids will catch some of the value of serving others whenever possible.
We left the beach and played at the park for a while then we stopped by one of my coworkers houses to drop some stuff off. About 20 minutes later we were heading out to get donuts. My kids were wondering if they could get a small toy instead of a donut that evening. I reminded them that Christmas was only two weeks away and they would be getting gifts. At that point they all agreed that with presents coming it would be a good day to get a donut.
As the car got quiet Megan asked if she could get a Japanese Big Person Bible for Christmas. “Sure, Do you want to learn Japanese?” I asked. No she replied. I want to give it to the guy on the beach. Megan has always been giving, but I was especially proud that she would want one of her presents to be one that she would give away. Hopefully she continues to catch our family values and take them as her own.
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.
I took a trip to Ireland with a bunch of youth workers in February and it was a great time. I expected to be inspired by the life of faith that Patrick lived. Interestingly I think it was the life of faith lived by George Lowden that was equally as inspiring. He was going to go into missions with YWAM as a young man but his father and a WYAM missionary encouraged him not to. At the age of 23 he began making gutairs without books or the internet to tell him what to do. He would simply do what was within his power to do and pray to God to help him make great gutairs. His prayers were answered and he was able to make awesome gutairs. After just four years became world famous making accustic gutairs for some of the biggest names in the music industry. It was cool to see the heart of a missionary in a gutair maker. George Lowden was an inspiration to me of the passion that every Christ follower should have to do great work and honor their God.
So if you have an extra $5000 or $10,000 laying around and want to buy a gutair I know a great place to get one. They’ll even let you tour the factory. You might even be inspired to more fully give your life to Christ in the process.