Over the past few months I have been reading the book 30 Life Principles by Charles Stanley with my Thursday morning men’s bible study. This is an excellent book and I would highly suggest checking it out. This past week, I read a section of this book which had good application for leadership and professional development that I wanted to share: Life Principle #25 – God Blesses us so that we may Bless Others.
I work at Dallas Baptist University, where we talk a lot about Servant Leadership. Reading through this book, and reflecting on the concepts of Servant Leadership, I wanted to share a couple of important ideas of why it is vital for leaders to be obsessed about serving others:
1) God gives each of us all unique abilities and resources.
You may feel that you don’t have much to offer people, or you may be confused about what your talents, abilities or purpose is. Realize that if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, God gives you a tremendous gift that you can use to bless others. That is a promise!
1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Romans 12:5-8 says, “In Christ, we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
2) These Abilities and Resources have been given to us in order to bless others and build His kingdom.
We need to realize that the reason God has given us such immense blessings (abilities and resources) was so that we would use them for His glory and for the furtherance of the gospel. God’s gifts to you were never meant to be hoarded. They were given to be used wisely as you serve others through the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
We are most effective as leaders when we intentionally use our talents and abilities in our work, our ministry, and all other aspects of our lives to serve others.
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service”. Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
3) We have a choice whether we are going to encounter God to discover these abilities, then use them to bless others and honor Him.
Our love for God and others motivates us to serve, it inspires us to give freely so that others can be blessed and one day come to know salvation and enter into a relationship with Him. However, we have a choice as to whether we are going to our abilities for our own purposes, or bless others.
Only you can stop God’s goodness, the abilities he has given you, from flowing through your life and into the lives of others— and you do it by hoarding His gifts.
Acts 20:35 says; ” In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Luke 12:32-34 tells us, “It is our Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom … a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:32–34)
4) Are you using your gifts in a way that honors God and blesses others?
I used to selfishly use what God has given me to pursue after money, power, recognition, and personal gain. I can promise you these pursuits will not end well. You will be left empty, without meaning, and alone. You will end up with a perpetual state of chasing after stuff the rest of your life. I do not want that for you! Purpose and meaning is found alone in Christ.
Therefore, look for opportunities to use your talents and resources to love and serve others. Then watch how God works. Soon you’ll see that it truly is much more blessed to give than to receive.
As leaders, we need to model the way, using our talents to invest into others through mentoring, and showing that through our words, actions, and decisions we truly desire to serve others. We need to take intentional opportunities to help others find what their abilities are and how they can practically demonstrate their love for others through their calling to bless others.
We are told the only thing that will last the test of time is the gospel and the church. I don’t know about you, but I want to build something that lasts forever!
Cited Source: Stanley, C. F. (2008). 30 life principles: Study guide. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson.
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We each have a unique story to tell. Our authentic story, lived out in a real way, gives us tremendous influence to make a lasting impact on others.
Think about this for a moment.
As individuals, God has equipped each of us with a unique mix of skills & abilities, a distinctive personality & behavior, and certain passions & desires. These things have been given to us as a “tool belt” by God to use in this life. Our “tool belt” equips us with the tools necessary to accomplish our purpose in life. In addition, the “experiences” we encounter also give us a very unique perspective in order to share our stories with others. The good, bad and even ugly experiences in our life come together to help shape our authentic story.
Romans 8:28 and Ephesians 2:10 from the bible remind us that God works for good in all things for those who love him, and also that we have been created in Christ Jesus long ago for His purposes to do good works.
By sharing our authentic story or “experiences”, as well as the wisdom learned from them, we find a valuable way to influence, inspire, develop and serve others.
Our “tool belt” and “experiences” come together to shape who and what we are under Christ. In fact, we really are a mix of these elements; it is the combination of these items that shape our authentic story. The trick is to understand these things in an intimate and vulnerable manner. This is what it means to be Self-Aware. Self-Awareness, or the understanding of one’s self to an intimate and vulnerable extent, is the beginning to authentic, influential leadership.
As a young professional growing up, many times I tried to mimic others whom I perceived to be successful in life or business. I found that while this process revealed a wonderful amount of insight and knowledge, I always seemed out of place. Often times I found this was a mistake, I would end up mimicking something that I was not. I felt like I was constantly trying on clothes that did not fit quite right.
What resulted was a realization that I needed to spend time focusing my efforts on understanding “Who I Was”; this included an intimate understanding of my “tool belt” and what my life “experiences” meant.
God has created each of us to be unique. When we try to act as how we see others, the result will not be authentic. In fact, when your leadership is perceived as unauthentic, the results will not build trust, nor will it provide meaning and purpose for your life.
There are two important concepts which are vital for leaders to understand: (1) Unauthentic leadership does not last, and (2) Self-awareness is the beginning for discovering authentic leadership.
Authenticity is a key trait for developing as an influential leader. Now, as a higher education administrator, and someone who spends a great deal of time with college students, I intentionally encourage others to discover and understand who they are.
Taking time to discover your “tool belt” and “experiences before God will lead to a greater understanding of “Who you Are”. Furthermore, this will lead you to help discover what your purpose in life is, which is tied to your authentic and unique story that you can share with others.
One of the reasons for building this website and blog was to encourage others to discover their “tool belt” as well as what life “experiences” make up who they are. When we use our “tool belt” and “experiences” in the way they are intended, God will use our life in a tremendous way to influence others and for making a lasting impact.
I would like to invite you to take check out our page: Finding Purpose
This page offers a variety of different assessments which have been put together to aide you in discovering your “tool belt”. Complete these assessments and then record your personal results from each of them. Additionally, I suggest taking time to map out the major experiences encountered in your life. These are all breadcrumbs from God which can assist you to discovering your purpose in life.
We each have an authentic story to tell, what’s yours?
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