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Character Matters
December 1, 2009
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Character Trait –Servanthood:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
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Servanthood – The Example of Christ
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Christmas – the celebration of Christ. Even though the season focuses on the event that brought Christ to earth, we can't help but reflect on his life and ministry. Isaiah prophesied what this ministry would entail, calling out the names to be given the child born unto us: Light, Ruler, Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (see Isaiah 9:1-7).

We sing of Emmanuel – God with us. The Kingdom of God birthed into the earthly realm. But the religious and civil leaders of the time did not recognize him because he did not come as a king. He came as a vulnerable infant, who grew in wisdom and stature as a youth. He was taught of the Lord and equipped for life by his parents. At the appointed time, he stepped into his ministry empowered by the Spirit.

His kingdom was unlike any other, his leadership style unorthodox. When he spoke in the synagogue, the scriptures came alive. When he ministered in the marketplace, he touched people at their point of need, changing their lives physically and spiritually. He taught his disciples by example, humbling himself to wash their feet.

He who participated in the creation of the universe, who was and now is clothed in the highest glory, became a servant of the Most High God to lead the way back to the Father. His incarnation, in fact, is probably the most profound example of the servant's heart.

It is also a challenge to all who aspire or are called to leadership – whether in the home, in the workplace, in ministry, in the community, and in government. Leadership is servanthood.

In his book, Master Leaders, George Barna interviewed 30 of the top leaders in the country, drawing from leadership trainers (e.g. Warren Bennis and Seth Godin), political leaders (e.g. Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich), championship coaches (e.g. Tony Dungy and Lou Holtz), corporate and military executives (e.g. Colleen Barrett and Army General Robert Dees), and ministry leaders (e.g. John Townsend and Senate Chaplain Barry Black).

Armed with over 150 questions about the practical aspects of leadership, he sought to capture their experiences, specific skills, practices, and wisdom to pass along to others who want to grow in their leadership capacities. The book explores just about every dimension of leadership, including hiring and firing, creating a corporate culture or vision, developing trust, managing power, dealing with conflict and confrontation, handling pressure and criticism, discipline, and integrating faith.

One point stood out: humility. One interviewee described the importance of seeing leadership as an inter-dependent role and not a pedestal. He described the tension for leaders between being humble in their position while still believing that their decisions are crucial because of the effect on others. Another interviewee defined leadership as the process of serving people well – not just in the organization's mission but in the organization itself, by putting the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the leader.

Many homeschoolers believe that we are raising up a generation destined to lead. That's one of the reasons why we devote time to developing thinking skills, logic, and speech/debate. We want our children to be able to engage in the marketplace of ideas. We ground them in the truth, morals, and ethics of the Bible. We teach them what they are to know, as well as who they are to be.

May we be just as diligent to instill in them the heart of Emmanuel – dwelling among men, empathizing with the temptations and frustrations of earthly living, showing mercy and compassion, disciplined in prayer, and speaking the uncompromised Word of God from a position of humility. The leader as servant.
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Image Credit: © James Steidl - Fotolia.com

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