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Posts Tagged ‘exemplary life’

Live Selflessly

February 21st, 2014

“Let your good works shine out for all to see.” Matthew 5:16 NLT.

Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

My thoughts and comments today are that you “live selflessly.”

How you live everyday is important; why you live the way you choose to live is even more important. Summing up the eight character qualities of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus described the uniqueness of those who exemplify the Kingdom of God as being, “the salt of the earth and light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-16. Salt and light have distinctive purposes, only of use and value when fulfilling their purposes – an appropriate metaphor for us and our use and value to the Kingdom of God on earth. A Godly life offers an enticing flavor to the blandness of life apart from Christ and brilliant illumination dispelling the darkness in which others live.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT. Your life and mine are unique only when accomplishing the eternal purpose for which God intends. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT. It is important that you understand the measurement by which your life succeeds. Your purpose is always for, “all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” The first part becomes irrelevant if the latter part doesn’t occur. In an exemplary life, God is the One who is seen and praised.

If your motive is to be seen and praised by men, every effort remains inconsequential. “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV. A meaningful and satisfying life is lived, “for the praise of His glory.” Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

I remember my Dad often quoting, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry Truman, 33rd president of the US 1884-1972). That is very true. “Having your conduct honorable among [others], that . . they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God . .” 1 Peter 2:12 NKJV. Your most successful achievements might well be the most noble, while you serve merely for His pleasure. But know this, nothing done in His name and for His glory will go unnoticed or unrewarded. “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NKJV.

Jesus had strong words about doing even the right things for the wrong reasons – to be seen of men. Matthew 23:5 NKJV. When the Pharisees gave, they did so for the applause of others; they prayed where others would hear and admire. Read Matthew 6:1-6 NIV. For their efforts, they received no reward from God. You live selflessly when you live for the applause and approval of One. See Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. This is a practical way that we can help ourselves and one another: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT. Any outbursts lately?

My prayer for you today is that all you do is done in love and sincerity.

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Servant-leadership

September 29th, 2010

“The leader should be like a servant.” Luke 22:26 NLT

This is Jesus’ model of leadership: lead by serving!”

My thoughts today are about “servant-leadership.”

My friend, Campbell, once said in his lyrical, Scottish brogue, “If you think you are a leader and you turn around only to find that no one is following, you are not leading; you are just taking a walk.” Whose name comes to mind when you think of a leader? What qualities meet the criteria for your trust and cooperation? Too much of what you may have seen has not always been very authentic examples of trustworthy leadership – in marriages, families, business, religion, and government.

But you have also seen real leaders – maybe a parent, teacher, friend, pastor, coach, business owner or supervisor, mentor, or a civic leader, often with or without titles or position. You will recognize a leader when you see them, even when they were not what you were expecting to see. There will be people wanting to follow them, not blindly but confidently and happily. I think the quality of people, not the quantity, following someone speaks profoundly of the character and value of that leader. Almost anyone can get some crowd to feed their ego and follow their foolishness.

A true leader does not gather a crowd of followers for his or her own advancement and profit; a real leader inspires followers to be what they ought to be, and do what they ought to do, for the others’ development and benefit.

There is a myriad of books written describing leadership, listing its best traits and responsibilities. You will find no book on leadership better than the Bible, because there is no clearer example of Godly, effective servant-leadership than Jesus. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NIV. Jesus was clear that the primary quality of a leader is their personal desire and practice of serving – humbly, honestly, and sacrificially.

This is Jesus’ model of leadership: lead by serving! “And they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. Jesus told them, ‘In this world the kings and great men order their people around . . but among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.’” Luke 22:24-26 NLT. God made you to desire greatness, but greatness in God’s eyes is not about impressive things you do; it is about who you are and a greatness of heart as evidenced in the influence of your life on the wellbeing of others’ lives.

Another thing my friend, Campbell, taught me about servant-leadership is this: “If you want to know how you are doing as a servant, notice how you react when someone treats you like one.” His words still shape my life even after his death, because his words were consistently true to his exemplary life. I hope that will be said of me. You will do better by faithfully serving others, than to waste your time trying to impress them.

My prayer for you today is to let Jesus be the standard of how you share your life.

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