February 17, 2020
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Both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush called him one of the American Presidents that they revered the most, and he's right up there with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore - Theodore Roosevelt. He became a national hero, and soon President of the United States after his heroic leadership in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The objective of his unit was to take this strategic Kettle Hill and then San Juan Hill. Ultimately, his troops would have to advance uphill in the face of withering enemy fire. And his soldiers would long remember the order he gave to launch what turned out to be an historic advance. Unlike many military leaders, Teddy Roosevelt did not say, "Charge!" Instead, he shouted, "Follow me!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Life-Changing Leadership."
What an exciting example of real leadership. Not just pointing people in the way you want them to go, but taking them there! It is, in fact, the leadership style of Jesus. In 1 Peter 2:21, our word for today from the Word of God, He says, "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps." That word "example" in the Greek, literally refers to the letters that were at the top of a school child's slate in those days. That was the model that you copied in order to get it right. For us, that's Jesus.
He didn't just point in a direction and say, "Go for it!" His recurring invitation was, "Follow Me." That kind of leadership demands a life that measures up to your words. If you're in a position right now where you're trying to move people in the right direction - whether it's your children, your church, your class, your co-workers, your Bible study, your youth group, your employees - it's important to remember how to get folks charging ahead, even if it's uphill, even if you're drawing fire. You've got to present to them such a compelling model; such an inspiring "follow me" that it's going to be contagious.
For months, Jesus' disciples saw Him slip off every morning to spend time talking to His Heavenly Father. He never announced He was holding a seminar on prayer for them. But eventually, as recorded in Luke 11:1, the disciples came to Him and said, "Lord, teach us to pray." He didn't nag them to that point, He led them to that point by showing them what praying looked like; by showing them how much He valued it.
Paul demonstrated that kind of lifestyle leadership when he said, "When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly...I urge you to imitate me...my way of life in Christ Jesus...agrees with what I teach everywhere" (1 Corinthians 4:12, 16-17). And then he would say in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."
Ultimately, it's not your position or your title that gives you leadership. It's the way you live your life. It's the consistency of your convictions. It's the way you treat people. It's the kind of person you are more than the kind of position you hold that makes you a leader. If you wish that things and people around you were different in some way, start being that way yourself!
A leader's number one responsibility is to set the climate where they are. Ultimately, it won't be preaching that gets those folks moving, or nagging, or criticizing, or demanding. It will be giving them an example to follow. Remember, it's not "Charge!" but "Follow me!" that gives life-changing leadership!