ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
SURVIVING AND THRIVING – 6
September 18, 2013
I am on Day 6 of my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. I have walked 85.5 km and have 22 more to go. So far it has been a great blessing for me, a personal retreat, preparing me for the massive work of the New Evangelization. This work is ours, and I continue to share with you what God tells me, to prepare us all. Here then are 7 more principles of servant leadership, as again, entitled “How to Survive as a Servant Leader, and Even Thrive.”
Principle #36: Take care of your family and home front. Today, before the group started the actual walk, my co-pilgrims were on Facetime talking with their children and grandchildren. The blessing of technology and social media! The pilgrimage is important, and so is the family. Children and grandchildren doing well? OK, now we can go on our trek. Your family is your most important earthly treasure. Care for them, love them, ensure they are with you as you make your way to heaven. Your home is your base, your refuge, your R&R. Keep Christ at the center of your home. When you are battered and bloodied as your serve, it is your family and your home that will nurse your wounds, refresh your spirit, and prepare you for the next day.
Principle #37: Be a bearer of peace and goodwill to all. Along the Camino, the peregrinos (pilgrims) greet each other “Buen camino.” They do not know each other, they come from different nations and speak different languages, but when they pass each other, they wish each other “Buen camino.” What a wonderful greeting! Have a good journey; be blessed. You too are co-pilgrims with those who seek God. But you are more. As a Christian and a servant leader, you are an ambassador of Christ. You have a ministry to fulfill. Your love for all, especially the brethren you care for, must overflow. You must desire their spiritual well-being. This is why you evangelize, why you pastor.
Principle #38: Have your mission companion(s). Our small group of 6 quickly breaks into 3 distinct groups after the first kilometer. My wife Gerry and Melanie are the lead group; they are the stamp collectors (we have “passports” where we collect stamps to authenticate that we are on the camino, passing various points). My brother Jun and Mau are next; he is the berry picker and she the picture taker. I and Cynthia comprise the rear guard (OK, the slow pokes!). Jesus also sent out his disciples two by two. While you might sometimes work alone or go on mission alone, you are part of a larger team. Work with them. Rely on them. Especially when you go out of town, it is good to have a companion–your spouse or your co-worker. You watch out for each other, you share spiritual thoughts, you support, you encourage, you inspire.
Principle #39: Know you are in spiritual warfare and be alert to the wiles of the enemy. My knee pains were not severe today, and I was making good progress. Then, out of nowhere, my right knee gets zapped by a split-second, level-7 pain, bending my knee and almost buckling it. Just as quickly, the pain is gone. It was the enemy telling me he is still there, awaiting the opportunity to attack if and when I become spiritually lax. You too, as you serve the Lord, as you help bring people out of darkness into God’s marvelous light, are automatically involved in intense spiritual war. The enemy will not take things lightly, when people are rescued from his dominion. Never let your guard down. Be aware of his ways, even at times coming as a angel of light. Always cling to God.
Principle #40: Keep the right perspective. At one point, I faced a crossroad where the yellow directional signs pointed in both directions. My co-pilgrims were confused and hesitated. Some went right and others went left. I went left, until I looked and saw the larger sign on the horizon indicating the path of the camino. I turned back and got back on track. The enemy of course is out to deceive us. But we can also lose sight of the forest for the trees, miss the larger perspective because we are focused on details. There will be times when you should step back, to pause and discern, to seek counsel, to recalibrate. Do so. There are your elders, your co-leaders, your spiritual director, and the Holy Spirit who is your guide. Seek wisdom from them.
Principle #41: Be equipped for the battle. The tour company had told us beforehand to wear hiking boots or walking shoes, to exercise two hours daily for two weeks before the camino, and to wear appropriate all-weather clothing. I did none of those (my excuses? I did not want to invest in new shoes just for the camino; I was busy; I would just wear my CFC-FFL shirts). But one should follow those who know best. You are walking the path of the Master and doing his work as his instrument. You must obey him. You must act according to his ways. Know the Bible. Know your job. Know how to go on mission (check out Evangelization 101, per “The Call to Mission” 1 to 7, per the SG’s The New Evangelization series, Parts 42 to 48). Read the SG’s book on “Servant Leadership.” Be properly equipped.
Principle #42: Do not neglect your daily quiet time with the Master. I enjoyed the times when I was walking along with co-pilgrims, and even having conversation with some. But my best times were when I was walking alone, with no one in sight ahead of me, and no one in sight behind me. I walked alone …. with my God. My reflections were deeper. My sense of God’s presence was strong. You too, if you are to be an effective servant leader, must always be connected with God. Pray without ceasing. Do enjoy your time with others, as that is what community is about, but never neglect your time alone with God. Only God can provide you wisdom, strength and power.
Fellow servant leaders, we have our responsibility, but more importantly, we have been given a great privilege. The burden of servant leadership is for you the way to a life of holiness and pleasing service to God. Rejoice in it.