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Last week, we began focusing on the leadership implications of Genesis 12:2-3. Even as God blessed Abram so that he might be a blessing to others, so God has blessed us in our leadership so that we might bless others. In last week’s Life for Leaders devotions, we considered various implications of this truth for our work.
Today, I want to share a personal example with you of how a greatly blessed leader can richly bless others. I happen to be the recipient of this chain of blessing. The leader who blessed me was Lloyd Ogilvie.
In the last few days, we’ve been looking at God’s covenant with Abram, focusing on how Abram was “blessed to be a blessing.” In yesterday’s edition of Life for Leaders, we considered how leaders might be a source of blessing for their customers. Today, I’d like to consider how our leadership might bless an even larger constituency.
God blessed Abram so that he might be a blessing to others. Similarly, we who serve in positions of leadership have also been blessed so that we might bless others through our work. In yesterday’s Life for Leaders edition, I began to consider those whom we might bless, focusing on the people who directly follow our leadership. If you’re leading a company, for example, you have the opportunity to bless those who work for you.
Are there others whom leaders have the chance or even the moral obligation to bless?
In the past couple of days, we have been considering ways that God has blessed us as leaders so that we might bless others. Today, I want to think with you about these “others.”
I realize you might be uncomfortable saying, “I have been blessed with power.” But, I believe that until we can acknowledge this particular blessing, we’ll have a difficult time stewarding it well. Moreover, when I assert, “I have been blessed with power,” I am implicitly admitting that it is not really mine. I don’t own my power. It isn’t really mine. Rather, it has been given to me by the all-powerful God so that I might use it well for his purposes, and his purposes include blessing others and, ultimately, the whole earth, as we see in Genesis 12.
In Genesis 12:2-3, God promises to bless Abram and through him to bless “all the families of the earth.” Abram is blessed to be a blessing.
In a similar way, we who have been given leadership responsibility, whether in work, education, church, community, or some other context have also been blessed to be a blessing. We have received gifts that are essential to our leadership so that we might bless others.
Leaders, I believe, are blessed in multiple ways. To put it differently, we who are in positions of leadership have been given many gifts from God. In the moment, it might sometimes appear as if we have earned the prerogatives of leadership, but when we step back and reflect, we realize that all good things ultimately come from God’s hand.
If you’ve been hanging around Christians for very long, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Blessed to be a blessing.” It’s the sort of thing that Christians say when they realize just how much God has given to them. The phrase shows up on posters and trinkets in Christian bookstores. It is sometimes bandied about on Christian television and radio. “Blessed to be a blessing” seems almost cliché, a phrase not to be used by thoughtful believers. But, not only does this phrase come to us from Scripture, from Genesis 12:2-3, to be specific, but also “Blessed to be a blessing” epitomizes a crucial truth of the Christian life . . . and also Christian leadership.
Have you ever heard the name Herman Miller? Chances are you have. Herman Miller is the name of one of the most successful and influential furniture manufacturers in the world. Based in Zeeland, Michigan, Herman Miller serves customers in over 100 countries. The company is well known, not only for its furniture but also for its exceptional commitment to its employees as well as to the common good.
All of us engage in work each day, whether or not that work receives financial compensation. We sell products, build houses, teach students, mow lawns, govern cities, supervise staff, preach sermons, carve sculptures, and change diapers. Why? What motivates us to do our work . . . really?
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