Love. Humility. Zeal. Knowledge.
These four words provided stepstones for my personal development path in 2009. They came to me during an extended day with the Lord in June, a day when I was asking Jesus what specific areas he wanted me to pursue for the next season of my life. So, over the past half year most of my close friends know that I’ve been hovering around these four ideas, seeking insight on their implications for my own growth, service and leadership. What follows is a snapshot of what I’m learning.
LOVE. Some time ago a mentor asked me “Where do you want to grow, Ken?” I replied: Soft people skills. The next time we were together he brought that up, saying, “Ken, you know, in Christian leadership there’s no such thing as soft people skills. It’s called LOVE.” Jesus spoke often of love. So did Peter and Paul. Love one another, we are urged. Greater love has no one than this, that she lay down his life for her friends. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude; it does not seek its own. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Make every effort to add to your faith… love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself… and so on.
I spend an inordinate amount of time in various leadership settings around the world. It pains me to say that if we made podcasts of all of these discussions and played them back, we wouldn’t hear the word “love” pop up nearly as frequently as we’d like to think. If three of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders spoke so often of love, I should definitely pay more attention to this. For me this means forgiving people more readily when their mistakes cost me time, extra effort or loss of face. It means growing in p a t i e n c e. It means constantly depending on the Holy Spirit for discernment on when I should intervene as a leader and when I should allow others’ decisions to play out over time. I am usually too quick to rush to judgment or leap in to save. Yep. Still learning, still growing here.
Next up: HUMILITY.