LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!
In a meeting recently I heard someone say, "Lead, follow or get out of the way!" This is a pithy statement that seems familiar but requires a little follow up research. BTW - in one thread I followed, this statement was attributed to Yoda (!) then Jesus and finally Thomas Paine.
Thomas Paine was an English born American writer, theorist and activist who lived from 1737 until 1809. He was one of the great fiery voices of the American Revolution. In 1776, he published his pamphlet Common Sense, a brilliant statement of the colonist's cause.
Paine was known for stating ideas clearly and concisely. His opinions and personality aroused strong feelings in those around him. Thus, it is no wonder that his quote stayed with me long after the meeting was over.
To LEAD means to guide by going in advance.
A leader is anyone who has two characteristics: first, he is going somewhere; second, he is able to persuade other people to go with him.
Sometimes God calls me to be a good leader. When that happens, my role is to be faithful and focused on what pleases Him. The more I remain focused, the wider the circle of influence. When God places a holy zeal inside me to please Him, others who are like-minded are drawn to follow my leadership like a magnet.
To FOLLOW means to to proceed after.
Before following a leader it is wise to see if he is headed in the right direction.
Sometimes God calls me to be a good follower. When that happens, I set aside my own agenda and take up the agenda of my leader. If my leader desires to please Jesus Christ, who is the Perfect Leader, we are united in our efforts and much can be accomplished.
Jesus is the Perfect Leader because He understands the journey described in Matthew 7:13&14, For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
To GET OUT OF THE WAY means to stop blocking passage.
A good leader inspires men to have confidence in him; a great leader inspires them to have confidence in themselves.
Sometimes God calls me to get out of the way. Sometimes He wants me to actively promote those who are following me. When this happens, I recognize "fresh legs" are needed to take a task or project to the next level.
I recently discovered I needed to get out of the way of the SoulWork curriculum. God was asking me to inspire younger women by placing confidence in them. These younger women will create opportunities for more women to experience SoulWork - opportunities I was blocking by remaining in place. When I realized what was happening, I created something new - authorized SoulWork facilitators.
In the account of King Jehoshaphat's reign over Judah in 2 Chronicles 17, the king purposefully sent officials out to strengthen his kingdom spiritually and militarily. He sent them where he could not go to teach his subjects about faith in God and loyalty to the ways of David. Verse 9 says, And they taught in Judah, having the Book of the Law of the Lord with them. They went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.
It seems to me that the way to reach a greater population is like a dance - sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow, sometimes I get out of the way. O Lord, in Your grace and mercy, guide me in what I need to do. Do You want me to step up - step back - or step away?