Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Little Leaders

Little Leader
by Louie Giglio

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
Psalm 8:1

Little leaders are what we need.

As a result of the Fall, we all have a deadly preoccupation with ourselves. We are self-aware, self-focused, self-conscious, self-made, self-protecting, self-promoting, self-centered and selfish. Conversion to Christ is nothing less than getting over ourselves. That's why there is more than a subtle change that happens at the foot of the Cross. A death takes place there. Christianity is not about self-help but rather self-death. New life begins when we each abandon "me" and fall on the mercy of a God who loves us in spite of ourselves and a Christ who gave Himself in our place. In that moment, we embrace freedom from the perpetual doom of the flesh and take up the cause of living solely for the One who freed us. Such is the way of the Savior, who calls any who would be a recipient of new life to "deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me" (see Matt. 16:24).

Yet from my experience, self does not go quietly. Instead, it stubbornly rears its head and demands its way, looking for any opportunity to stand in the limelight and receive the glory. If left unchecked, self will stand in the light of God and somehow try to take credit for it.

Recently, I was stunned by a photograph in USA Today of what astronomers say is the perfect spiral galaxy. Taken with the help of a new telescope on the Big Island of Hawaii, the photo shows a breathtaking shot of a galaxy named NGC 628—slightly smaller than our Milky Way (it contains only a paltry 100 billion stars) and, get this, 30 million light-years away. Funny, the whole point of the accompanying article was our great achievement of taking such a great photograph with our two-week-old telescope. Aren't we great? Hmmm. Seems like all the wrong pronouns! Granted, we have done well to photograph anything 30 million light-years away, but let's get the point straight: God's hand put every one of those stars in place. An appropriate caption for this photo would have been, "Can you believe God made this stuff with His own hands?"

The psalmist writes:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Ps. 8:3-4).

Notice all the pronouns. Your heavens. Your fingers. You set in place. Get it? God is far from small. In fact, it's safe to say our self-limitation has never fully allowed us to think of Him as He is. Given His incomprehensible immensity, the fact that He is mindful of us at all is amazing!

So if you want a quick glimpse into how small you are as a leader, take note of which pronouns consume you: "His," "He" and "Yours"; or "I," "me" and "mine." Little leaders use "He" a lot. The big ones use "me."

A stage is a dangerous place to be, because a stage, by definition, is a raised platform. Stages are built so that little people can be seen more easily by larger audiences. The lights are bright. The sound is big. Yet if we are not careful, those of us who lead can allow the stage to succeed, making more of us than we really are.

It's not that we are nobodies. We're created a little lower than angels and are crowned with glory and honor—made in His image (see Ps. 8:5). We get to rule over all He has made. But we've only to look up to be resized in an instant. [don't Sailors intuitively know this while at sea?]

Rather than absorb the light that shines on leaders, we must continually reflect it back to God. One night my wife, Shelley, and I were flying home to Waco from Houston in a small twin-engine plane. Every time I looked out the window, I saw a massive searchlight moving rapidly across the ground below. At first I thought a police helicopter was tracking some criminals, but after an hour the light was still there. Finally I spoke up, wondering aloud what could be going on. The pilot, ever so confident, informed me that the moon (which was full at the time and pretty much right there, if I’d only looked up) was shining on the plane, reflecting a huge circle of light onto the ground.

I felt like an idiot! Embarrassed and a little humiliated, I went back to minding my own business. Then it hit me! Eager to get even, I remarked that actually the moon was not shining on the plane. Rather, the sun was shining on the moon (hah!), and the light of the sun was reflecting off the moon onto the plane. Thus the sunlight was making the huge searchlight on the ground. Brilliant!

Well, as far as leaders go, we need more little moons. Shine a light on them if you will, but you'll only see a greater reflection of His glory in all those around them.

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Ps. 8:1).