For the second topic in my series on the 7 Traits of A Great Leader, we’ll be looking at the leader’s role as a soldier.
2 Tim 2:3-4 – “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
I’ve read somewhere that a faith which costs nothing and demands nothing is worth nothing. I wholeheartedly agree and would like to open that statement up to include the world outside of our faith.
A vision which costs nothing and
demands nothing is worth nothing.
Search your heart. Don’t we know that to be true?
I remember growing up and playing little league baseball and soccer. My father was always the coach and he would push us kids to be the very best we could be. As a result, our teams were usually successful. At the end of most every season, we would be rewarded for our accomplishments on the field with a shiny “gold” trophy. I would take it home, place it on my dresser, and admire the fruit of my hard labor. After months of hard work and discipline, I was able to reap that reward.
At the age of 9, my family moved to the next town over. This town’s junior soccer league, in all of its progressive glory, had a rule that each and every child would receive a trophy, regardless of their record or standing in the league. In this new league, my father was no longer my coach, and I ended up on a team much different from those of my past. The general attitude was…
“We’re getting a trophy anyway, so why should we really bother putting in all this hard work. Let’s just coast through, finish up the season, and get our trophies.”
And that’s how we played. We coasted. We did what was marginally required of us. We won some games, lost some more, and then got to go home with a shiny “gold” trophy.
That trophy meant absolutely nothing to me. I did not gaze at it and feel the same sense of accomplishment as I had with others in the past. Was it the visible fruit of hours of hard work fulfilled? No, it was just a piece of plastic that someone convinced me I was “entitled” to.
My generation suffers from that same heart condition. We’re raised in this culture that tells us, over and over, that we can be exactly what we want to be, no matter what it is. We can dream as big as we want to dream and, no matter what, our dreams will come true. Unfortunately, these cheery and well-meaning words of encouragement recklessly neglect the reality that, if we want to realize our dreams, we are going to have to suffer.
Leaders, if we’re going to realize our dreams and materialize our vision, we’re going to have to suffer the most.
We’re going to have to work long and hard hours doing things that are less than glamorous. We’re going to have to strive, sacrifice, hurt, cry, and bleed. Hardest of all, we’re going to have to do those things well; keeping the cool, calm reserve of a steadfast leader.
We’ll come to the brink of financial ruin, stress existing relationships, and neglect important areas of our life. We’ll lose sleep, lose weight, and lose our sanity all for the sake of our vision; our sacred idea of what this world needs to look like because of what we were able to accomplish.
My question for you is this; How do you regard your vision for the future; of your business, your family, your community, your legacy, and the world?
Do you want your vision to amount to a cheap piece of plastic on your dresser; “won” through laziness, dishonesty, and compromise?
Or, is it the good fruit a hard fought battle, purchased through steadfast determination, commitment, and unwavering faith?
A great leader must be willing to suffer and to fight; to be a good soldier. If you are not willing to do those things, either…
you need a new vision or your vision needs a new you.
Get in there and do the tough stuff that it takes to lead your team to success.
Keep fighting the good fight.
As a leader, how have you suffered for your cause?