As leaders we must have to be motivated to lead. What is it that motivates leaders? Faith is surely a big part of being able to lead. I used to believe that faith was towards something that God said, but I have come to understand that faith is always towards a person. Faith works through love and that love is a love for a person. It is not a love for a promise. It is not a love for a purpose. It is not a love for a ministry or a task in life. It is a love for God and a love for people. True faith is towards God and it comes by hearing God. When God speaks we hear what He says because we love Him. We don’t twist His words to our destruction. We hear Him and we respond to His voice with actions of love for Him. Faith is a huge part of being able to lead. We lead because we are first able to follow. We follow not only the voice of God; we follow the heart of God. We grow in knowing Him and we grow in knowing His heart. I believe that as we grow in knowing Him we also grow in doing what we see Him doing. His heart leads us. His Spirit leads us. We do what we see our heavenly father doing. We don’t wait for Him to do it and then follow His actions. We see what He would do and we do it, because we know His nature, character, way, power, and authority in the things He does. Our hearts grow to be motivated by what motivates His heart. We are moved by compassion and love in the role of leading for the sake of the Father’s will in loving people.
I used to think that vision based upon principles, patterns, and values is what motivates leaders, but I have come to understand that there is something much stronger than vision based upon these. It is what actually gives vision the power of imagination. I believe that it is two-fold. I believe that it is a love for God and a love for people. Love for God and love for people empowers leaders to serve through a power of submission. There is no doubt a part of leadership that is built upon principles, patterns, and values that motivate their actions, but these alone will not be enough to motivate leadership in the long haul. Leaders must know the commission of their leadership and that commission is no doubt filled with principles, patterns, and values that direct their hearts, but being able to lead others is not merely being able to obey God or obey a commission. It is to submit to God and to submit to people in the task of leading. It is possible to obey without truly submitting, but it is not possible to submit without demonstrating actions of obedience. I believe that submission is an attribute of love for someone else. Obedience can be performed through a commitment or an obligation to something, but submission is an attitude of the heart. Leaders submit to God by embracing willingness to follow Him in leading others. They also submit to people by willingly embracing their responsibility of leading them for the sake of love. They tip in the direction of those under their leadership in order to give them the substance of life entrusted to them by God for the sake of bringing others further in the path of destiny. They also come under God’s authority in their lives so they can be leaders that others can follow. I believe that leadership is a gift of God’s love to those they are entrusted to lead. They don’t lead for the sake of their own agendas. They don’t lead for their own ministries. They don’t lead for the sake of their own kingdoms. Leaders lead for the sake of the Father’s heart in writing spiritual letters of life in the hearts of men and women joined together for God’s purposes in the earth. Those letters are letters of God’s love being written by His Holy Spirit to be manifestly read by those in the world around them. They are a message of God’s kingdom love to the kingdoms of the world. Each letter has a unique message of life and each letter contributes to the bigger picture of God’s life for the world. Leaders are not merely responsible to the letter being written. They are responsible to the One who is writing the letter and to the hearts of those the letter is being written within. Leaders must lead for the Spirit of the letter, not merely the words of the letter. The letter without the Spirit can kill, but the Spirit of the letter will always bring life. It is a testimony of God’s love.
Love is the true motivation of leadership. It isn’t a love for the letter being written, but a love for God the Author of every letter and a love for people, the substance of every letter written.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson