Wednesday, January 02, 2008

playground courage

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

Could it be that the essense of leadership is courage? Andy Stanley had a great point when he said that most people follow "The Rules of the Playground".

When you're a kid out playing with a group of friends, there is always one child who is ready to:

- climb the tree
- shave the cat
- walk the fencepost
- jump the gulley

This kid may not have been the strongest, fastest or smartest. The Playground leader often made up their own rules. Many of those kids were the ones who got me into trouble! :-) Because once they did something, others were sure to follow. The courage to go first made them the leader by default.

The human spirit is always drawn towards courage.

Isn't that one of the defining characteristics of Jesus himself? But what set him apart was this important difference: Jesus had a courage that was motivated by selflessness. He didn't do things out of pride or personal ambition. His was a courage that stood up for justice, that defended the weak, that healed the brokenhearted. He always chose the right for the common good.

Jesus was often hated and accused. Many took offense and positioned themselves as enemies of Christ. It ended up costing him death on the cross.

But the courage of a servanthearted leader has the power to change the world.