Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself. ~Henry Ward Beecher
I was dropping off my first child at college. He was going to a place he had never been before, hadn’t even visited. I, however, knew the place and many of the people.
Students and parents stood outside in the blazing sun waiting to pay bills, get assignments, make final decisions. Faculty, staff, and upperclassmen helped direct foot traffic and lend a hand where needed.
An older gentleman approached.
“Welcome.” He smiled and shook my boy’s hand.
“Thanks.” The apprehensive man-child continued reading instructions.
“This is the school president.” I introduced the man to my son.
“Oh, sorry.” He shook the now-important-person’s hand.
There are people in life you don’t expect to meet. A university president moving boxes and greeting students is one of them.
A former United States President building houses for the poor with his own hands. A real Princess who touches lepers and AIDS victims.
Presidents and Princesses are out of most people’s circles. But maybe you know a mayor who packs sandbags to stop a flood. A wealthy podiatrist who gives his time to veterans with foot problems. A lawyer who moves to a poor neighborhood and mentors fatherless boys.
When people discover that I’m a preacher’s wife, it often changes their expectations of me. I get called “Mother” a lot. When people need answers, they come to me.
There is the possibility of forgetting my true place, my true calling.
“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” Luke 20:46-47 NIV
The leaders of Jesus’s time were more concerned with how they looked than with the looks they gave.
They didn’t look twice at the broken, oppressed, lonely, or sick. They didn’t feed the hungry, visit the widow, or sit with the hurting.
They were too important, too above all that. Jesus said their honor would be punishment, their importance would be forgotten.
Maybe you aren’t President, Princess, Mayor, or even Preacher’s Wife. Perhaps the most recognition you get is an apple at the Teacher Appreciation Banquet.
But no matter what your status, you can learn from Jesus’s own display of leadership.
Serve quietly. Speak kindly. Touch gently. Love completely.
Are you leading from the front of the crowd or guiding from the middle?