Phyllis and I were with a large group of teens doing a tourist sight-see of a Scottish castle. It was an amazing edifice over-looking the Firth, furnished with everything authentic and ancient. The paintings, artwork, guns and swords on the wall were authentic and the antique carpet on the floor was the real-deal-meal.
Ronnie, the Scottish tour guide, took us from century to century as we went from room to room. One of the young ladies in the group - I'll call her Mary - was feeling sick, so as the tour moved from room to room she either sat on the floor or found a seat in the corner. And usually she lagged behind in the group last to leave a room. As we moved from a small sitting room to another, all of a sudden her sickness intensified, she doubled over and began to throw up. One of the young student leaders - we'll call him Joseph - immediately took off his nice, white designer hoodie and shoved it in front of Mary. And she vomited and vomited and vomited. Others were involved finding plastic bags and holding the hoodie while Mary was sick.
Mary felt better and could now smile; the tour continued; the workers in the Scottish castle scurried to clean Mary's accident off zillion dollar antique wool carpet and Joseph dumped his hoodie in the trash.
Afterwards, I took Joseph aside and I commended him on his leadership. I said to him, "You demonstrated a true leadership ability because your actions were: Immediate, Decisive and Sacrificial. When you are a leader, you have responsibilities 24/7 and as you carry out that responsibility, you acquire greater authority. And as a Christian leader, you want to walk in God's authority."
And that's the way leadership has to always be:
- Crisis can't wait for the leader to lead.
- True leaders must be able to think on their feet and take immediate action. I think that's why you have to "pray early" so that you are spiritually ready for the day. Leadership requires immediate action, so prior meditation and heart preparation is necessary to make quick decisions. Our days come at us from 360 degrees at the speed of life. Leaders can respond with immediacy.
- One of my friends described his pastor: "He might not have always been right, but he was seldom in doubt." In other words he was able to take immediate action.
- Crisis can't be sorted out in a committee.
- Somebody has to make a decision. A leader is the one who decides. Leaders carry responsibility. Break that down - responsibility: the ability to respond.
- The ability to decide under extremely demanding circumstances is the mark of a leader. Decision making in the comfortable quiet is one thing, but being decisive "under fire" is another.
- There is a price to be paid for leading.
- Costly decisions are part of leading. Not decisions that just cost everyone else - anybody can make those. Costly decisions and extreme actions that are personally expensive is one of the hallmarks of Christian leadership. True Christian leadership shows others the way through personal sacrifice.
Joseph did that. He thought on his feet and saved Mary a lot of embarrassment and the castle a big clean-up. In the process, he lost a great hoodie. But in my book, he's on his way to a great life of serving God and His People.
Anyway, he bought a new "Scotland" hoodie when we got to Glasgow. And that hoodie now has a cool story to accompany it.
(I've changed up the names so as not to embarrass anyone who might be sensitive.)