There are few leadership assignments any more challenging, or rewarding, than parenting. History has often demonstrated that just because you can lead fearlessly on the battlefield or brilliantly from the presidential or corner office does not mean you will automatically be successful in your home. That is why this last month has been particularly rewarding for me. I travel around the world teaching people leadership truths. In June I was in Latvia training Campus Crusade leaders from across Europe on how to be spiritual leaders for their nations. However, what has been truly rewarding of late has been the recent leadership victories in my home.
In May I had the privilege of attending my son Daniel’s college graduation and my son Mike’s seminary graduation. I have had people tell me, “Richard, you and Lisa are so fortunate to have good kids.” I always smile and say, “Well God has truly given us more than we deserve, but just for the record, my kids did not come out of the womb ‘good.’ We had to make them that way!” I remember my son Mike kicking and screaming all the way to college. I remember Daniel being so unprepared for college we sent him off to do mission work around the world for his first year after high school. We also had the privilege recently to see Daniel get married. It was a beautiful, heartwarming moment. But I also remember those painful nights when Daniel desperately struggled to be able to go to sleep or when he faced some heartbreaking experiences and we wondered how he would navigate his life through the landmines that seemed to keep going off. Only a few people at the ceremony could know all the challenges Daniel’s parents had gone through leading up to the day they witnessed him being joyously married and going off to seminary to prepare for ministry.
At the beginning of July, our son Mike also began his first ministry job as the minister of college and single adults at First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia. Along with that, our two sons submitted the manuscript for their first book which should be published at year’s end. This by two sons who repeatedly told their parents they would never enter the ministry because they were terrified of public speaking! Now both are great speakers and intending to spend the remainder of their lives telling others about Christ.
Why am I telling you so much about my family in this blog? Because leadership often comes in seasons. There can be many painful, disappointing days (or years) when you are tempted to give up because all the news is bad and disappointing. However, you cannot afford to give up. The stakes are too high. There is too much to lose. So you hang in there and keep believing. Unfortunately, I have known many people who gave up when things didn’t work out as they planned. They assumed that the hardships they were facing proved they should move on to another assignment. As a result, they never saw the fruit of all their labors. In life, and in leadership, there are times when the tide goes out and when it comes in. You may labor for years doing all you know to do. Then it will seem as if the tide comes in and those things for which you worked finally bring their reward. Lisa and I are in a season in our lives at the moment when it seems that so much of what we have worked so hard for in our home is presently bearing fruit. Can I encourage you to not grow weary in well doing? (Galatians 6:9). For, in due season you will reap if you do not lose heart.
I recently read the biography of A.W. Tozer by Lyle Dorsett entitled, A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer. It is an interesting account of the life of the pastor who wrote such classics as The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. Yet sadly it reveals that, despite his passion for God and teaching God’s word, Tozer was not close to his extended family or, for that matter, to his wife and children. When his widow, Ada, remarried after Tozer’s death, she was asked if she was happy. She replied, “I have never been happier in my life. Aiden (Tozer) loved Jesus Christ, but Leonard Odam loves me.” Even some of the great leaders of church history have discovered that their greatest leadership arena is in their own home.
Could I encourage you to continue working, praying and believing as you lead in your family? That is one assignment you cannot resign from or ask for a transfer! And your labor and sacrifice is worth it. If the tide is out at the moment in your home, keep hanging in there. In due time you will reap, if you do not grow weary.
|Also! It is not too late to sign up to be with me at The Cove August 18-19. Bring your staff or leadership team and we’ll examine how to know God’s agenda for your ministry and then to move your people on to it! There will be time for teams to meet together and to process what is being taught.