At Your Very Best

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, October 17, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

There is a moment in the movie "Facing the Giants" that just wrecks me every time. The football coach asks his strongest player, Brock, who has a defeated attitude, to take a 160lb teammate on his back and do the 'death crawl' - while blindfolded. The coach asks him to promise to do his very best - no matter what, his VERY best.

In the following moments that young man carries his teammate on his back, crawling on hands and toes for the length of the field. He's hurting, he wants to give up, and the coach keeps his mind off the pain, encouraging and yelling encouragement to keep him focused. When Brock finally collapses in exhaustion, the coach removes his blindfold to show him that he's in the end zone. Brock had no idea what his VERY best could do, and we realize the coach was also discovering how his very best could build the team.

The reason that wrecks me is because that is the kind of coach (and player) I want to be. I want to bring my VERY best to every opportunity I have in front of me.

Read Romans 12:3-8. Pay close attention to Paul's description of our gifts, our connectedness to one another, and the specific ways he challenges us to live out God's gifts and calling in our lives.

  There is an interconnectedness we all are meant to have with one another. It is complimentary and diverse. And when we live it with proper humility, it causes all believers to function together in perfect unity, harmony, and purpose. That happens because God already is and has UNITY in His nature. When we function together in the ways He designed us to, and intentionally connect our gifts in SUPPORT of others’ gifts, we begin to function in His unity. If there is division or dissention, then someone is considering their position or perspective as more important than they should. That's the gist of Paul's key point.

  I want to take a moment and pull out something specific from verse 8. Paul is listing specific spiritual gifts from God and how we should use them in service to one another. In regard to leaders he says, "and if leading, do so diligently." That Greek word translated as 'diligently' is the word 'spoude.' It means to "do your VERY best."

Many leaders, and many Christians, think they are doing their very best when they are seeing bigger and better church worship services, or more donations, or more people deciding to be "Christian." Some think they are doing their very best when they have protected the congregation from worldly influences, or when they have gotten everyone to 'play nice' in regard to the music, or when they have gotten everyone to like them and to let them call all the shots. Honestly, the list goes on and on for how people score themselves on doing their very best.

Sadly, too many leaders use their position to drive toward pet projects, to maintain power for themselves, to satisfy their own insecurity, or to secure their retirement. And if we are honest, so do many non-leaders. It's a human issue, because we normally don't know how to leverage authority or wield power for anything beyond ourselves. It gets all mixed in with our motives and insecurities and becomes a trap. The only way to stay on track is to do as Paul says: "Think of yourself with sober judgment, and consider others better than yourselves."

This is really hard to do. Truly collaborative leaders know how to listen. They seek an honest critique from others (prayerfully taking corrective action), and they use the power and authority of their position to make others powerful. It's amazing to see the spiritual temperature of a community rise when leaders clear the path for peers and younger leaders. Its energizing when they bring others to the table to truly have a voice and when they set the example of service, not in hand holding and placating expectations (though there is a place for this), but rather by helping others learn to do their VERY best with their gifts.

Leaders who do their VERY best are ones who help others do THEIR very best, and they develop people who know how to use their best to bring out the best in others. When too much freedom, too much control, or too much insecurity replaces intentional refining, resourcing, and releasing of others, a leader has failed to lead diligently.

  So, I ask you, leader or not, are you doing your VERY best with what God has given you? Are others strengthened to do their best because you are intentionally using your gifts in support of them? (And for you talented independent loners, are you letting others also support you with their spiritual gifts?) Yes, leaders have a special obligation to bring their VERY best, to help others do their VERY best. And I believe it's so we all learn to live that way with one another.

Leaders, I appeal to you to relinquish your personal kingdoms, agendas, and self-protection hierarchies. Set the example of bringing God's best through your diligent effort to support and release others into His calling and purposes. As you show us how to do it, and keep nothing for yourselves, what do you think will really happen? If you are afraid of where it might lead, could that be a sign of what kind of leader you have been?

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