Our Latest Lesson in Leadership – True Ownership is Organic

Leadership – This word is so loaded with images and baggage that I would almost rather not use it. But it carries with it something that still matters – still has to be wrestled with. We see it at work everywhere around us, and the challenge for us is that much of the time, the examples we see are not healthy.

The biblical reference to “leadership” comes in a word that means literally to “stand before” – proistemi. The KJV unfortunately translates this word “rule” in most cases (I am sure it made more sense 400 years ago when it was translated). There are nine uses of this word: (Rom. 12:8, 16:2, 1Thess. 5:12, 1Tim. 3:4,5,12, 5:17, Tit. 3:8, 14). If one reads these passages with the the more accurate translation of “lead” (stand before), the passage makes so much more sense. There is another word, phero, that literally means to carry or “guide”, that is used in the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:13, lead us not into temptation). This word is an action, in contrast to proistemi which is a placing of someone in a position of influence.

So enough with the technical stuff. The point is that if we understand this idea of being in a position of influence (“standing before” others), we realize that this happens all the time, and mostly not based on a “plan”.  Jesus spoke of our light shining before men, not because we plan some kind of “show” or appearance, but because others are noticing how we live – all the time. We all have influence – we all “stand before” others in some way or another. To try to plan how often this happens is futile.

What we can, and need to, take ownership of is this: What is the impact of my influence on others? Am I allowing the Spirit of God to work through me, or am I living from some other source? We cannot give what we don’t have – and what we allow to guide our lives will “lead” those around us. This all brings us back to the need to allow people to help us understand our impact on others. I for one am too good at selling myself an image of how I come off to those around me. I really need the input of those whom I share a deeper level of vulnerability with. They help me ask for what I really need help with – they are Jesus with skin on for me. When it comes to facing the truth about my influence – my leadership – I need all the help I can get.