After attending the Global Leadership Summit today, some pieces of ideas I have had connected. This is scary when I think about it because I know what being stretched feels like but I also know the reward of fulfillment that comes from saying “yes”.
I have been wrestling with a question lately. This question is not a new one but rather one I have been faced with over and over again in my lifetime. The question stems from a verse of scripture in the Bible. You may be reading this blog because you wanted leadership growth content, not a sermon. I promise you that I won’t be “preachy” but as a pastor and a follower of Jesus, I regularly find instruction and inspiration from the Bible, so please stay with me on this thought process.
The verse of scripture is found in Romans chapter twelve, verse one. It reads, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
It is the part where the author writes the word “sacrifice” that really messes with me. A sacrifice is something that is uncomfortable. A sacrifice is a willing release of control that acknowledges a dying to self. A sacrifice is an intentional inconvenience that I am willing to endure without my will and comfort. As I read that passage and think on it, I wrestle with this question: “What am I really sacrificing for God?” We can make the good we do so convenient and compartmentalized in our lives that we see ourselves as the hero, not the servant. We see our humanitarianism as a philanthropic deed of goodwill to those less fortunate. While there is nothing wrong with doing good, I wonder for myself, “where is the sacrifice in all of it?” If it becomes convenient and I have plenty to spare, the inconvenience to me is not that big of a deal.
In light of the mercies of God, I am told to present my body, my life here on this earth as a living sacrifice. I’ve wondered what that means for me. I think the dots are finally starting to connect. John Maxwell said something today at the Global Leadership Summit that sparked a series of lines that progressively connected to sporadic dots in my brain and heart that have removed some of the mystery that has surrounded my question. John Maxwell said, “We should live to add value to people everyday.”
Adding value can be simple or complicated. Adding value to others for me is to be the leader worth following by adding value to others. So in other words, I blaze the trail of adding value to people by showing others and inviting them to come along with me to add value to others.
I have to be authentic and true to myself, so I’ve been thinking about what that looks like. I want to add value to those in the nursing homes by showing them that they matter to God by visiting them, talking to them and listening. I want to show them that they are here for a reason and that their lives count and they aren’t forgotten. I want to add value to the incarcerated men and women of our society by building into their lives new connections that will foster healthy relationships on the outside. I want them to have positive relationships established on the outside so when they are released, they don’t have to go back to the influences that will put them in compromising situations simply because that is all they know. I want to add value to the poor by providing food, resources and education for them to know they aren’t alone in their struggles and that they don’t always have to struggle. I want to add value to our communities by investing in leaders to help them grow, develop and expand their relational networks, resources and potential. I want to add value to our local congregation by making them know and feel value. I want them to know that they are seen, they have a name, and that the 167 hours of the week they aren’t in Church matter to God, me and our church family.
If I believe these things and these are the things I am called to be a living sacrifice for, then I must prioritize these things. The priority and action…the execution and “doing” these things will add value to the recipient but also to those watching. In light of eternity, I want to add value to people’s lives by letting them know God loves them, and so do I. I want to add value by prioritizing them and regularly spending time with them. I want to add value by serving them as I serve Christ.
Living in light of eternity changes my perspective and my priorities. I want to be a living sacrifice and now I know how. I will gladly be spent to add value to other people’s lives and showing them they matter to God.
Scripture says, “How can you say you love God whom you can’t see but hate your brother that you can see?” It is impossible. How will people ever grasp the love of God in whom they can’t see unless the people of God love them?
Let’s live in light of eternity by adding value to those we are leading.
What are some ways you are adding value to others?