Today I want to explain what I believe is a foundational issue for great leaders. I want to put the spotlight right where I think it belongs and that’s on you and me. Let me illustrate what I am taking about with a story.
This story is set someplace near Jerusalem, during the time of Roman rule. It could have happened while Jesus walked the earth. There was an old and very devout Jewish Rabbi who severed in the Synagogue. One day the Rabbi was praying intensely and the Lord was present in his prayers speaking great words of Wisdom to him. He had been praying most to the afternoon when finally he decided it was time to go home. His house was about a mile from the Synagogue and walking was the only choice. So off he went, still under the influence of the Lord from the powerful afternoon of prayer. As he walked toward home he came to the fork in the road at which he always went to the left to go home. He had never followed the road to the right except for this day. For some reason the Lord lead him to the right that day and he obeyed. As he was walking along praying he came upon a Roman garrison and on the wall of that garrison was a guard on patrol. Upon seeing the Rabbi the guard immediately shouted, “Who are you? and Why are you here?” This rude interruption to his prayer startled the old Rabbi and he seemed dumbfounded. He looked around and realized that he was definitely in the wrong place. The guard, growing impatient for an answer, shouted again, “Who are you? And Why are you here?” The old Rabbi got this knowing look on his face that comes with revelation knowledge and asked the guard a question, “How much money do you make?” The guard was surprised with this response and wasn’t quite sure he heard correctly and he asked “What did you say?” The Rabbi repeated his simple question, “How much do you make?” The guard answered “Two denarius per week.” The old Rabbi smiled and said, “I will double your salary if you will come to my home and ask me those two questions every morning when I leave and every evening when I return.” “Who are you?” Why are you here?”
As I have studied, meditated and lived Biblical Leadership I have come to the conclusion that these two questions are foundational for all of us and especially for those who want to employ Biblical Leadership in the marketplace. If we can’t answer these questions correctly we will be like the man who built his house on the sand (see the story of the wise & foolish builder – Matt 7:21-27). But when we can answer these questions … OH, what a difference that will make in our lives and our leadership.
Most leaders I speak with will launch right into “who are you?” with definitive statements of their accomplishments at work, that they are a husband, a mother, a business owner, an executive.. Those things are great BUT those are things they have done, not who they are. One of the lessons I learned in business coaching was about the distinction between who you are and what you do. Your accomplishments (or doing) will always flow out of your being, WHO YOU ARE. When it comes to the second question, most people I talk to have not figured that one out yet. So let’s take a look …
Who are you?
With your permission I would like to kick at the walls of your box for a minute because I want to change your paradigm. I want to change it by getting you to consider who you are in Christ and the Father. Because in the end that is really all that matters. When you become a Blood-bought believer of Jesus Christ that changes who you are? How about meditating on this for a while; “I am the manifestation of the Spoken Word of God.” “I am eternal!” “I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.” How powerful does that make you? How humbled are you with that revelation? For those of you who are born-again believer (and I’ve probably lost everyone else by now) these statements are true of YOU. Whether you understand and accept them or not is another issue, they are true.
In addition to the three above here is more about who you ARE!
- I am redeemed in Christ!
- I am covered by His blood, making my sins invisible to the Father.
- I am righteous in Christ.
- I am an over comer.
- I am seated at the right hand of Christ
- I am a son of the Living God!
- I am loved by God!
- I am created in HIS image!
- I am blessed!
- I am fearless because my God is with me.
- I am the seed of Abraham and an heir according to the promise.
This list, along with many other “I am” statements from the Scriptures is the things that we have in common as Blood-redeemed believers in Jesus. How these facts are manifest in each of our lives is a very individual issue. Remember He gave us “free-will.” So the way I live this out will be different from how you do it.
The point is that as born-again believers in Jesus Christ we have a number of traits in common. It is critical for you to embrace and embody these “I AM” statements. Because out of them and as a result of them will come your words and actions as individuals and leaders. When you do understand who you are in and because of Jesus you will be powerful and confident in all that you do. Why? Because you know who is behind and who is beside and who is in front of you. If I do not live from this foundation, I may be a leader but not a Biblical one. Until we (read that I) get it that I am created in HIS image, I am a son of the living God, I am loved and known by the creator of the universe, along with all the rest of our I AM statements you cannot live out HIS call on your life. Did you catch that? Only when you understand who you are in Christ, can you live out the call HE has put on you.
Why are you here?
Remember earlier I said that most people don’t have this question “figured out yet.” That’s because they have not fully understood the first question. (Are you getting this?) Knowing who you are is the stepping stone to knowing why you are here. Because in addition to the common answers given above the rest of our, “who are you?” answer is about the skills and abilities that the Father has gifted us with. Those skills and abilities are your clue to why you are here. The Word says that we are all part of the “body of Christ.” (See 1 Corinthians 12: 1-31 for the details.) I am convinced that each of us in the body has a specific mission that requires the gifts and talents we have been perfectly given. We must use those skills and gifts for HIS glory, to accomplish HIS purposes. Remember the parable of the talents; are you investing the talents you have been given for the greatest return for the Kingdom? Or have you buried them somewhere deep within you? I don’t recommend that choice. Because I’m sure that you, like me, want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” and not the question …”Well?”
So … when you finally “Get it” in your gut about who you are in Christ and come to an understanding of the skills and talents He has given you, then you are ready to search out and step into your mission and come to understand why you are here. It is my opinion that the best leaders are working at the intersection of “Who are you” and “Why are you here” and they know the answers very well.
God is so cool! No one else could make two simple questions so profoundly important.
Be blessed and keep singing HIS praises.