October 8, 2009
Andy Stanley on How Leaders Make Their Mark
Andy Stanley opened Catalyst 09 with an illustration from the Ridley Scott movie, Kingdom of Heaven. In this movie, set in the medieval Crusades, the blacksmith has a phrase inscribed in his shop in Latin: “What man is a man who does not leave the world better?”
Andy then set up this tension: If you have the leadership gift, you want to make a mark, to leave the world better. But you won’t know your legacy, even your greatest mistake, until years later. The defining moment will happen when you don’t know it’s happening. So the problem/challenge for leaders is you don’t know the thing you’ll do that will make the biggest difference.
What to do? Andy drew insights from the Book of Joshua:
When Joshua enters the Promised Land, he is on the verge of making his mark. The incident that I believe marked Joshua is when he's a couple of days out from attacking the city of Jericho. In Joshua 5:13, Joshua saw a man in front of him with a drawn sword. Joshua asks him, "Are you for us or against us?" The man (angel) answers, "Neither. No." In effect, he's speaking for God: “I have not come to be a part of your story; I’ve come to see if you’re willing to play a part in my story.”
Later, when Joshua was 110 years old, he addresses the nation and says (23:8), “Cling to the Lord your God as you have done this day. … Take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord Your God…. Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Why this is so challenging to me: I would like to think that at the end of your life you will be able to look back and see that you have made your mark. To be able to love the Lord your God and to say to the generation behind, “There is no greater thrill and joy in the world than to lean your leadership gift into the will of God for your life.”
I learned from my father, “God takes full responsibility for the life wholly devoted to Him.” Even when he was literally punched in the face during a church conflict, even when he was verbally attacked, he devoted himself to God.
Be consumed not with who’s for me or against me but whom I’m for. That brings freedom:
Thy will be done, thy kingdom come.
Making our mark isn’t worth our life. Living to make my mark is too small a thing to give my life to. But to be positioned to be open to whatever God wants to do through me, IS something worth giving your life to.
Honesty time: Are you energized by making your mark, or devoting yourself to God, allowing Him to do His work in and through you?
Catalyst Leadership is a new digital magazine combining the wisdom of Leadership Journal with the innovation of the Catalyst Conference. Sign up for your free subscription today at CatalystLeadershipDigital.com/subscribe/