What is a Leader?

Who is called to lift up the cross?  Lovers of Jesus who long to lead the lost to the cross.  Leaders.

What is a leader?

I had that word “leader” redefined for me by my son’s kindergarten teacher.  I was in tears the first few weeks of school because each morning Johnathan got out of the car and instead of joining others on the playground, he sat on the steps and he watched.  He loved to go to school, but I couldn’t figure out why because he spent most of his recesses just watching.  I honestly felt he was overwhelmed by the whole “school” environment and many mornings left the playground and drove home in tears.

A few months into the school year, I asked his teacher how he was doing and she said, “Oh, Johnathan is definitely a leader.”

I begged to differ.  This was the boy who sat on the steps and watched most mornings.  From my vantage point, he wasn’t even following yet.  She said, “When I tell the boys and girls it’s circle time and we need to get ready for math, Johnathan is always one of the first ones to take that direction and begin to clean up whatever he’s doing and head to his floor seat.”

“That’s leadership?” I asked.  It sounded more like obedience to me.

Mrs. Sheppard (appropriate name for this shepherd of kindergarteners) explained that leadership is choosing to do what is right.  It’s also comprehending the overview of what is happening in a given environment and seeing what is needed and acting on it.

I was so relieved when Johnathan began to interact more on the playground.  It didn’t happen until the third quarter of the school year, but he did seem to figure out where he belonged in the scheme of things and jumped in.

People who are called to lift up the cross are leaders who have that ability to watch and comprehend the overview of what is happening around them.  There is this uncanny ability to see the need within a group of people or even within a company and take action in a way that meets the need they see.  Is that you?  Pardon the pun, but if that’s you then “This blog’s for you.”

Charles Spurgeon was a leader.  He looked around him and saw the lost.  He said:

“Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

Now, that’s a man who comprehended the overview of what was happening around him.  He saw the need!  Charles Spurgeon was a leader.

In the next blog, I want to share the story of a woman who lifted up the cross—a woman who’s on this blog.  She inspires me!

For today, I leave you with this picture and adjoining scripture:

Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
Come, tread, for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of [h]decision!
For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of [i]decision (Joel 3:13-15).

About Lift the Cross of Jesus!

My day job is writing--I'm an author and publisher of a number of books. More on that later. But there is nothing of greater importance to me than the early morning hours I spend with the Creator of the Universe. Although He knows everything there is to know, His greatest delight isn't to give us knowledge, but to give us love. My highest joy is to watch the sun rise with notebook in hand and write the words he speaks to my heart. I want to share some of those words with you here . . . words on the cross.
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4 Responses to What is a Leader?

  1. Great thought-provoking piece! What a great ‘K’ teacher: leadership simplified for all of us! Thanks, Hope.


  2. What’s that they say about age 5? “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten?” Smiling. And Mrs. Sheppard was awesome!


  3. Larry Who says:

    Leaders are always doers.


    • They say if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. But the cool thing here is that ability to get the overview, see the need, and work to meet that need. Now, I want to also say the gift of HELPS are such a HUGE blessing to the LEADERS!! So there is no condemnation here, just clarifying what that looks like. And it will take leaders to see the multitudes in the Valley of Decision.


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