A recent “scuffle” relationally has reminded me how important good solid leadership is needed in our world – especially in the Christian realms. The aspect that is brought to mind is courage. To me, the best definition of courage is found when contrasting it against fear. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the overcoming of it. Courage moves you into the burning building when everything in you is saying “STOP!”
Leaders are often find themselves in the midst of difficult situations requiring vast amounts of courage. This happens for several reasons:
- Leaders are typically trying to move people where they wouldn’t naturally go themselves. In Henry & Richard Blackaby’s book, Spiritual Leadershp, the spiritual leader is defined as someone who is trying to move people onto God’s agenda. If you’ve ever explored God’s agenda, you know that not only the destination, but the journey can be hard to get up for. And with that comes tension and hard conversations. A leader not willing to move courageously into those hard places 1) won’t be a leader for long and 2) will miss out on some of the most exhilarating “God moments” that can be experienced.
- People are messy and need leaders to help sort it all out. So, from that standpoint, we are all leaders in one form or another. If you’ve ever broken up a sibling scuffle or a stopped your child from doing something very dangerous then you know that on occasion, you get elbowed in the nose or have to endure the tantrum of all tantrums. Every day, we find ourselves faced with choices whether to step up and into something hard or remain silent and let some other leader deal with it. Doing the former is one hallmark of true leadership.
- Leaders must make the hard decision when nobody else will. James Kirk, the captain of the starship Enterpise from Star Trek, comes to mind when I think about leaders making hard decisions. Military leaders face some of the most difficult decisions on the planet because they deal with choosing between the good of the few and the good of the many. That’s why I admire former President George W. Bush. He led courageously without much thought as to his approval rating. In short, he did what he felt was right for the good of the many. For this, I’m grateful and very glad I work with computers!
Great leadership requires courage – not just personally, but also for others. The word encourage means to instill or give courage to another person and great leaders can do this better than anyone. They instinctively know the right words or most effective gesture to breath life into our crusty innards – to warm us in places long since cold.
As you look around you, who needs encouraging? Who needs some courage to face the lions of the day? Who absolutely must have you stand up and be strong and look them in the face and say, “together…we can make it!”
Go and be that for them. Don’t hesitate, just go and BE the source of courage for the world…we all need it.