Weekly Thought – December 21, 2021
Fred carried a reputation of integrity. He spoke, wrote, and mentored from a position of understanding the true responsibilities of leadership. Anyone who heard or read him were reminded of character and the critical role it plays in personal and professional decisions.
Freedom to Lead
Some leaders in business and in ministry I know feel trapped. “I’m called by God to do this, but I don’t like aspects of the job, and I don’t feel free to change them.” My experience with pastors is that many feel like slaves to the church with very few options. My corporate executive friends express the same emotions.
They do have emotional options, of course. They can choose to be dedicated, enthusiastic, willing to use their best talents, or they can drag their feet, be insolent, and hostile. Internal control is the often the only available control.
When feeling trapped Christians need to recognize they may be serving the wrong master. We are all called to be slaves of Christ, not of the church, or the business career. This freedom to serve Christ alone requires discipline. It comes with a price – all freedom does. One of Mary Alice’s friend commented, “Fred has more freedom to say what he really thinks than anybody else I know.” My wife replied, “He pays a price for it.” It is true. We who want to serve Christ as our master understand the cost. Bonhoeffer discussed the “Cost of Discipleship.”
The willingness to be disliked comes with the commitment to character and integrity. The world is uncomfortable with those whose standards exclude convenient compromise. When we make the decision to serve Christ alone, the price tag is high. It may cost a job, a relationship, or social position. Joshua asserted his leadership philosophy when he challenged the people to declare their loyalties. He wasn’t mandating but announcing when he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I was approached by a high profile Christian businessman who asked me to sit on his board. I said, “You don’t want me. I would see my responsibility to the organization, not to you. You couldn’t count automatically on my vote.” In saying this I was insisting on my freedom to discharge my responsibility. He quickly agreed I wasn’t the person he wanted on the board.
Freedom is not irresponsibility. I believe one reason for America’s productivity is the environment where responsible people live in freedom. The Puritan conscience is the central element: “you have a talent, you’re responsible for it, and one day you will stand before God and give an account for its use.”
This week think about: 1) How free do I currently feel? 2) What do I need to do to clarify my direction? 3) Who can help me more fully commit to Christ?
Words of Wisdom: “Freedom is not irresponsibility.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Or you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13 NET Bible)