FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
SURVIVING AND THRIVING – 3
September 15, 2013
It is the third day and third stage of my Pilgrim Walk along the Camino de Santiago. God continues to speak. Let me share with you 7 additional principles on “How to Survive as a Servant Leader, and Even Thrive.”
Principle #15: God provides for His beloved children, even in the simplest of pleasures. There were a number of places where blackberries grew wild. We picked them every now and then. Sweet and delicious! We didn’t need the berries to sustain us, but God provided them anyway. It was a joy to simply pick them off the bush. God provides for the birds of the air (they like berries, right), so why not His children? Always be attentive to the little joys in life and be grateful. God delights in giving you such little pleasures.
Principle #16: God allows the bad to come with the good, so don’t be disappointed when bad things happen to you. The berry bush also has large thorns. As I was eating the berries today, I noticed red in my hand. I thought it was the berry juice, but it was blood. I had been pricked. Such is life. At times we are just not careful and so get into trouble. At other times, God just allows it, for His own purposes. Pain is salvific. Dwell not on the bad or the pain, but always on the good that such pain can bring.
Principle #17: Continue to push on to the goal, a life of holiness and service in the Kingdom. Whenever I stopped, to rest or to gaze at the view or even to jot down my reflection, the other pilgrims quickly passed me by. The camino of course was not a race, and yes, we should stop at times. But don’t get too engrossed with what does not pertain to your life in Christ and mission. Don’t be unnecessarily delayed in your Christian walk. As a pilgrim, always keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and your pace at a satisfactory level. Don’t get left behind!
Principle #18: Your pain is your opportunity to pray for others, offering it up for their intentions. My trek today took longer than usual, because I had the usual deep pain in my knee joints, and even my right knee gave in. I then had all that time to think of all those in need and of all the prayer requests sent to me. Unless your gift is intercession, how many of us actually take time (or a lot of time) to intercede for others? When you are in pain and circumstances give you time, that is a gift to you so you can intercede for others. An extended time of pain offered up for the needs of others is your gift to them. In the Lord, everything is indeed gift.
Principle #19: In community, you never walk alone. On my first day of the camino, I did not make use of a baston or walking stick. On the second day I used one. On this third day I used two! My knee joints needed support. You will also face problems and difficulties. At times you act alone, and it can get lonely at the top. But if and when you need support, it is there. Make use of all the support provided for you. Go to your brethren for a shoulder to cry on, to get advice or counsel, to enlist help for a particular work. Do not hesitate. This is what community is about.
Principle #20: For those who are married, your spouse is your companion and staunchest support. On today’s walk, I continued to be afflicted by deep pain in my knee joints, this day even more that the first two. My right knee eventually gave in. My wife Gerry kept by my side most of the time and gave me timely support. When I had to walk backwards on downward slopes, she was my guide and companion. You too will have many co-pilgrims in your walk through life, but only your spouse is your constant helpmate. You may have spousal problems and even conflict, but at the end of the day, your spouse is the one who is there for you. Cherish your spouse.
Principle #21: Work hard but also have your time of leisure and recreation. The treks were difficult for me, given my knee joint pains. But the joy of finishing every leg was exhilarating. Then I could have a late lunch of my favorite pulpo (octopus) and clara de limon (a local blend of beer with lemon). Then our small group would do some sightseeing and have fellowship. The women in the group would have their massages. Enjoy your work, but also enjoy your leisure, including quality time with your family. Recharge and refresh and recalibrate.
You will agree with me that the work of a servant leader is difficult and at times even thankless. But know that you indeed are privileged to be called and chosen. And of course, I thank you for your work. More importantly, God thanks you. God bless you all.
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