We are always leading. While a lot of what we do seems benign, there’s a motive behind everything we do. And people are always watching. Almost nothing we do is in complete secret. The question is ‘In what direction are we leading?’ Toward goodness…or away? Toward strong character….or away? Toward Jesus… or away?
Nowhere is this principle more apparent and amplified than in Hollywood. With “paparazzi” always on the scene, a star’s every move is watched by millions. And whether they want to accept it or not, people…especially young people …are following them, copying them. Their clothes, their tattoos, their behavior and the decisions they’re making.
The sports world is the same. When Charles Barkley was a player, he made the now-famous declaration that he “wasn’t a role model”. He realized the weight of responsibility carried by a successful professional basketball player and tried to shuck it. He couldn’t. No one can. Funny that even today as a commentator, whenever someone says “That’s terr-a- ble”, it’s someone copying Charles Barkley.
As fathers, this principle needs to be front and center. Our kids are always watching what we do. They’re watching how we handle pressure. How we eat, drink, exercise, rest and take care of our bodies. How we treat their mom. How we make decisions. How we handle conflict. How what we say matches up with what we do. How we respond to ‘the least of these’ and people in need.
One of the unforgettable pictures from my “BC” days was heading out to the driveway to wash the car one Saturday afternoon. I had my jam-box in one hand and a six-pack of Miller Lite in the other. I looked back and my son was following me, toting his little jam-box and a six-pack of Coke he’d taken from the pantry. It was a moment of clarity I’ve never forgotten. He was doing his version of what he saw me doing. That’s what our kids do. Even when they grow up.
Too many of us try to be apples instead of onions. We put a shiny, red skin on the outside for our kids and others to see. We want to look like good Christian men who go to church and do everything right. But inside, we might be sweet, sour, crisp, mealy, bruised, or just plain rotten. On the other hand, an onion is the same all the way through. When a man decides to be all-in with Jesus, life gets simpler. No more posing. No more posturing. No more acting one way in front of your kids and another way at work. No more ‘golf course’ vocabulary when you’re with your buddies and ‘God-speak’ around church people.
Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you”. “Seek” is an action word. You can’t ‘seek’ passively. You have to initiate to seek. The first place for leadership is self-leadership and “seeking His righteousness” means becoming an ‘onion’. Asking Him for the courage to remove everything that’s not ‘onion’ from our lives. Asking Him for the faith to say and do what is right, even when it’s hard. And mustering the will to lead consistently…to be God’s man…inside and out.
Question: Are you ready to embrace your full-time leadership responsibility? Are you ready to chunk the apple and become an onion? Tell us about it here…..