The Journey Center of the Path By Scott Rodin
A Steward’s Journey: Leading from the Center of the Path
In my work through The Steward’s Journey, we equip leaders for the journey of becoming steward leaders through a process of understanding and embracing seven keys. The third of those keys reads as follows: Steward leaders are secure in their identities in Jesus Christ. They stand firm on that certainty and reject the temptation to desire affirmation or applause from any other source. This positions them to absorb criticism and deflect praise.
The link between our leadership effectiveness and the source of our identity cannot be overstated. As leaders, we will either find our identity solely in our new creation in Jesus Christ, or we will find it, at least some of it, in other, counterfeit sources. These may be our job, our title, or our reputation. The struggle here is between finding a solid footing for our self-image and the ability of the enemy to distract us through either pride or self-doubt. Let me explain by way of an illustration.
Picture yourself standing in the middle of a path with both feet firmly on the ground, facing straight ahead, and fixing your eyes on your destination. When you keep to the center of the path and don’t become distracted, you can work your way through obstacles, around rocks, through streams, and up steep grades, all without losing your focus on your destination. When our eyes are focused on Jesus Christ as our sole identity then all that the world can offer us will not cause us to veer from the path.
Yet we do veer. We must recognize that the enemy wants us anywhere but walking the center of this path. He continually places before us enticements and challenges to move us off the path in one of two directions.
First, if he can get our eyes off Jesus, he can woo us to one side where, in our pride, we believe we can negotiate this path by ourselves. Pride always causes us to take our eyes off Jesus and look in some other, any other, direction. Confident in ourselves and the strength of our leadership, we wander from the path and soon find ourselves out in the weeds.
The enemy is just as content if we careen off the road in the other direction due to our discouragement, believing the lie that we can’t go it at all. There is a consistent call in scripture for us not to be discouraged. The common theme is, “The Lord will be with you.” We can only affirm this wonderful truth if our eyes remain fixed on Jesus. As soon as we look away from him, the challenges and trials of our leadership can overwhelm us. Even worse, when we look to ourselves to solve our own problems, we can meet with the kind of failure that will cause us to despair. And so we careen back and forth, seldom finding our true and right place on the road.
There is a sweet spot in the life of a steward leader. It is that place of stability, balance, and confidence where we are in the center of the path to which God has called us, our eyes fixed fully on him, and our stride steady and sure in his direction. We find that spot when we deny the enemy the opportunity to lie and deceive us into believing in our pride that we can go it alone or to throw our failures in our face in an attempt to discourage us from going at all.
If you have wandered from the path through either pride or discouragement, I encourage you to name it and surrender it back to Christ. Find again that solid ground. Stand firm on the path, eyes fixed on him, and lead from a place of confidence in who you are as a beloved and redeemed child of God.
Scott Rodin is Senior Consultant/Chief Strategy Officer for The Focus Group. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Association of Biblical Higher Education and as board chair for ChinaSource. Over the past thirty-eight years Scott Rodin has helped hundreds of organizations improve their effectiveness in leadership, fund development, strategic planning and board development. This blog is excerpted from Scott’s new book, Set Free to Lead: Your Guide to Discovering the Abundant Life of the Steward Leader. It is available through www.kingdomlifepublishing.com.
The 2021 Outcomes Conference theme is “Thrive.”
Merriam Webster’s dictionary says.
“Thrive” can mean both “to grow vigorously” and “to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances…”
That’s perfect for us as Christian leaders in this moment! Psalm 92:12-13 states,
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”
In the midst of a season that has had its share of challenging circumstances, our prayer for you as leaders is that you would flourish like those palm trees described by the Psalmist. Please join us in Orlando as we
“spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24)
What is Christian Leadership Alliance?
Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.