Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stooping To Greatness

I recently heard a presentation from Pat Lencioni (Bestselling author & CEO of The Table Group) about doing the simple, humble things that create great organizations. He says that time after time people study the great leaders to see what they're doing. They discover that what's unique about them are behaviors that they could easily implement. "But only if they're willing to stoop down and be human, to treat their customers and one another in ways that others might find corny."

Greatness, it seems, comes to those who are willing to stoop low enough to reach it.

Jesus didn't just preach to the lepers--he touched them (Matthew 8.1-3). Jesus was known for the low class company he kept, not the opposite (Luke 7.34). Jesus came to us as a vulnerable, pooping baby instead of glowing warrior on a chariot.

Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. --Mark 10:42-45 NASB

And I know that this challenge isn't limited to CEO's. Pastors struggle with this, too.

Servant's don't get special parking spots next to the door. Servants don't have special seats on the stage. Servants don't ask others to add special titles of honor to their names...but many pastors do.

Trying to live this out, I don't introduce myself differently on Sunday (I'm just "Scott"). When I teach, I walk around the room or even sit at a table and just talk to people. And I don't give myself extra time during the open ministry sessions we have. Some Sunday's I take a turn in the children's ministry watching the babies while another elder leads the teaching time. Why wouldn't I sign up for what we ask others to volunteer for?

If you're a pastor and people choose to show honor to you (as the Bible does command them to do), maturity says you accept their gift gratefully. But requiring honor from your members, allowing special treatment to be an official part of your church's routine, is entirely different than accepting a gift. If you tell your friend they're supposed to buy you a particular present and give it to you every week, is it still a gift?

Just because others allow you to claim a high position doesn't mean God is pleased with your posture. God might get more glory if stooping was more normal than standing tall.

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