This past Sunday, we discussed what we thought made a good leader. Our pastor asked us who had influenced us, or helped to lead us to do something we wouldn’t normally have done.
It was a hard question for me to answer. In my earlier years, I feel like I was influenced by a lot of people. I didn’t know who I was and that made it harder to discern whom to follow and let lead me.
As the years went on, I met some people who affected me in many ways. The first person who comes to my mind is my high school librarian, Mrs. Divers. We lovingly referred to her as Mrs. D (still do, even today when I see her). She influenced me so much, I worked a character called Mrs. D into my new Young Adult novel (release date Christmas 2016!). The character is a librarian whom my main character respects and loves – much like I did my Mrs. D.
Mrs. D simply showed me how to laugh at things. Not much gets her down and she has such a great attitude about life. It’s not a lesson I’ve learned well. I still have anxiety about things and worry about too much, but I strive to laugh things off like she does. She was a great role model in our school and showed me that my thirst for knowledge through books was shared by many – not something I realized at the time.
I think my dad is a good leader, too. He’s such a hard worker and so loyal to his friends. Those are terrific qualities to emulate. Plus, he taught me the basics of hard work and doing things right.
One word I consider when thinking of a good leader, someone like Jesus, is the word humble. Both my dad and Mrs. D are also humble people. They tend not to boast or take credit themselves for a lot of things. They do things for others in a quiet way. They share their knowledge because they love to – not because either of them thinks they are the best at it, simply because they want others to have knowledge, too.
Today, as we’re watching political debates involving some of the most non-humble people I’ve ever seen, I think we’ve lost this part of being a good leader. Everyone seems to want that recognition as a “great leader” and they pump their fists and push out their chests to say, “Look what I’m doing!” But, for me, that isn’t what makes a good leader.
Think about Gandhi, Mother Teresa, missionaries, Red Cross workers, Nelson Mandela, and other selfless humanitarians. They didn’t strive for recognition for themselves – they only worked to help others.
As the November election draws closer, I want us all to consider the Bible’s thoughts on this and what the leader of our country needs to embody. It might be a bit too late now (our choices are set), but I encourage you to read these verses and pray about the future of our nation.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Eph. 4:2
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. – Proverbs 3:34
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13
Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” – Mark 9:35