What Kind of Leader Am I? By Eddie Baugher
Choosing Between Being a Serving or a Self-Serving Leader
As we consider the question, “Am I a serving leader or a self-serving leader?” We need to do so with honesty through God’s eyes (as He sees us). I believe this is difficult but not impossible to do.
From a very young age we are told to “be good.” We are also compared to others, “why can’t you be like so and so.” As we grow and start school, it is more of the same, but now we are expected to have good grades, achieve goals and strive to be better than others. And so the cycle goes as we enter college, the work force and even begin our own families.
We are challenged with excellence among our peers and our family. We find that we have been gifted in some ways, but struggle in other ways. And the problem comes when we try to cover up our missteps, our shortcomings, and our mistakes.
We don’t want people to see how we are less or see our weaknesses. We will lie, cheat, and deceive our way through life hoping we won’t be found out… at least by other people. We then try to justify what we do and our actions, saying things like, “The ends justify the means,” or, “It was just a little white lie.”
In the Beginning
Throughout the Bible we see example after example of these very things that would go on to cause some very major problems – some of which we still see the results of today. When Adam and Eve made the decision to Edge God Out in the Garden of Eden, they were changing the course of human history. They started a pattern that continues to this very day – thinking we know better, hoping God won’t find out, and trying to cover up what had been done.
Pride and Fear
Pride and fear are the tools the devil uses to Edge God Out of our lives. And understanding the root of the problem and how we have been conditioned throughout lives will help us as we move forward.
Pride has been a word for me that has been a two-edged sword. We are told to take pride in our work, but also that pride comes before the fall. We see stickers that say, “made with pride.” But we also don’t want to be prideful or arrogant. As a craftsman, I would take pride in my work. I thanked God for the ability he gave me to create things, and I was proud of what I had accomplished. But was that pride something that was God honoring? At times I didn’t give any thought to God in what I had made, but other times I did.
If our pride comes from what WE did, we will be like the people in the town of Babel. “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves, otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth,” (Genesis 11:1-4 NIV). They wanted to make a name for themselves, they were very prideful in their actions, and God saw it. They were very skilled in what they were doing, but God caused their languages to be confused and it ended their endeavor, it ended their arrogance and their pride in what they could accomplish.
I have struggled with both pride and fear throughout my life. I had worked hard to build, not a tower but a business. God had always been important to me and I was thankful for Him giving me the ability to make a living and grow a successful business.
After being self-employed I never wanted to go to work for anyone ever again. I enjoyed the freedom and sense of accomplishment I had owning and operating my own business. I was a hard worker and God had given me the ability to do what I did to make a living. But one day, God changed all of that and took me to a place I never thought I would find myself
God took me to a place where I had to humble myself, set aside my pride, and humbly go to the cross of Christ and submit fully to him in all I could do or could be. It changed my perspective and it changed my life. I learned that God doesn’t want our ability he truly does want our availability. He wants us to Exalt God Only in all we do and say – both in our personal and professional lives. And if we will do that and have our pride be in God, then the fear will go away.
Do, I still struggle with those things? Yes, every day. Do I need to make a conscious decision to not Edge God Out? Yes! Anytime I begin to take pride in my ability, it is not long before I am reminded of my past and how God can easily take the thing I have pride in away. When I begin to be fearful or anxious, I need to remind myself that where God is there is no fear.
I know how easily I can get drawn back into pride and fear if I am not daily Exalting God Only and following Jesus with my whole heart. Jesus didn’t worry about what people thought of him. He didn’t let it stop him from doing what God had called him to do. Jesus was bold in his identity as the Son of God and we can be bold in being called the children of God. Jesus didn’t look forward to the pain and agony of going to the cross, in fact he asked the Father if there was another way, but he did what needed to be done. He did what God had sent him to do. He did it, not for himself, but for us. As we lead others, we need to lead much the same way – not out of selfish motives but out of love for others.
A Daily Walk
Leading like Jesus is not a one-and-done thing. It is a life-long endeavor. Leading like Jesus can be the most challenging and rewarding thing we could ever do. But more importantly is leading other people to Jesus and allowing them to experience what life can truly be when we are free from the bondage of pride and fear the freedom from sin in our lives. We can help others lead like Jesus in all they do – their work, their families, and their personal lives.
I choose to be a leader who serves.
Eddie Baugher, CCNL, began serving as a volunteer chaplain with Racers For Christ, a nonprofit organization that trains, equips, and sends chaplains to serve within the world of motorsports, in 2009. Today, he serves as the Executive Director; and, along with his wife Kelly, they travel the country with the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Camping World Series as the series chaplains.
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