The most impactful leaders of this world and in the kingdom of God are not world-changing leaders due to an Ivy League education; nor are they exemplary leaders due to family heritage or prestigious titles. The honorable leaders of any generation are not necessarily men and women with money in their pockets or verbosity on their tongues.
The most life-changing leaders that have ever lived are quite simply men and women who live well. True leadership embodies the will and the commitment to choose a lifestyle that is not tainted by mediocrity, substandard living or by trifling distractions.
A commendable leader, either male or female, has determined to live with the ever-present knowledge that what one chooses to do in the mundane of life matters.
It matters how you treat those who serve you. It matters that you esteem waiters, waitresses, postal workers, cashiers, Sunday school teachers, valet parking attendants, secretaries and aides as more important than yourself.
"Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each esteem the other better than himself" (Phil. 2:3, MEV).
Leadership is not won at the polls, it is not decided in the boardrooms, nor is it determined by resumes. Leadership is revealed in the muddy trenches of life. Leadership is determined in the quietness of a man or a woman's soul when faced with compromising positions, unfair treatment and political exchange.
Leaders treat the people in their homes and under their charge with honor and with unconditional love. A godly leader will say, "No," to the prestigious in order to say, "Yes," to the valuable.
A genuine leader will exhibit kindness when no one is watching and will give sincerely when there is no self-benefit in the gift.
An honorable leader will be slow to accuse, reluctant to criticize and only use his or her words for the purpose of encouragement and construction.
A leader with laudable character will never engage in mockery or in sarcasm as a way of making his or her point. A leader knows that innuendo, whether good or bad, has a way of living beyond the day that it is implied.
Leaders are certainly not perfect specimens of humanity, but when faced with their own failures, they ask for forgiveness and endeavor to change their behavior from compromising to honorable. Leaders never cover up the sins of their past but use those shortcomings as a springboard for greater and for finer living.
Many weak followers merely pretend to be leaders and place the nameplate on the door, the diploma on the wall and the bravado on the resume. However, do not be fooled. Leadership cannot be bought or sold. Leadership is earned one honorable decision at a time.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol at justjoyministries.com.
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