Please imagine that really cool TV network “Now Announcing” music beginning here followed by this more than pertinent information:
Today, the CrossEyedLife announces a new category for it’s teaching/blog articles called Leadership Journals. I’ve noticed that many of the comments and the emails received are from people in leadership positions whether in small business or in ministry, so, I’m creating a new line of thoughts for our readers specifically for them.
Hopefully these articles will have principles that translate to all readers, as I really enjoy communicating directly with fellow leaders from time to time. So, whether you’re a CEO who crunches numbers and meanders through the marketplace maze, or maybe you’re a fellow under-shepherd smacking a few sheep back into the flock, or maybe your captain MOM of the good ship “OBEY ME NOW OR THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES”… I hope Leadership Journals has something for you!
Have you ever missed out on a good thing because you haven’t been willing to do the hard thing?
The obvious answers lie before us like broken toys on a toddler’s bedroom floor (man, I have to get some non-parental metaphors):
· The better body we always wanted, but never produced because sit ups cost more than Ding Dongs
· The training and education we were always going to pursue later when we had more time (you can stop laughing now)
· The career or life goal that was actually achievable, but never achieved because it required a change that you still haven’t found the words to share with “you know who”
· The savings account that never was because the flat panel, the ipod, the boat, the new car, the… oh, you get it!
When we get honest, this list of good things gone undone can get sickeningly long real quick, and what makes it even worse is we can add another page of how we are planning on starting them all tomorrow.
As a leader, there another item for this list that often gets overlooked because of our culture of teambuilding and inclusion. It’s an area that, if properly diagnosed, may lead us and our areas of leadership to seasons of incredible gain and success.
In other words, if we are willing to do the hard thing, we may see some good things happen. Jesus, of course, lead right through the trap I am talking about and is the perfect model for us. Check it out here:
1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Mt 17:1-9). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Jesus was transfigured. Literally, the Greek says that Jesus was metamorphosized.
Honestley… I have no idea what physically went on up on that hill… but, whatever it was it was uber cool. It had to be! It was so amazing that Peter went moron again and started talking like a babbling brook of nonsensical ideas (roughly translated, this is where modern day politicians come from):
· Lord, it’s good to be here
· Let’s stay here forever
· I can build You a house
· I’ll build three
· Can I get Your dead friend’s autographs
· You look good all glowy and stuff
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Jesus needed anything. This transformation was not for His improvement. I think He organized this day trip for his peeps, but the leadership lessons here are transforming… transfiguring you might say.
This was an amazing moment of metamorphosis, and as a leader I know that I yearn for, chase after and die for moments of change like this!
I need to get past who I am, to grow up and become something I wasn’t if I am ever going to lead my church to the places it needs to be. And at the same time, there need to be certain people that take that trip, too!
Here’s where it gets hard: But not everybody can/will make that trip at the same time.
When Jesus went up on the Mount of Transfiguration… He only went with three guys: Peter, James and John.
This is one of the coolest moments in all of the New Testament. This is one the most impressive things that ever happened in the earthly ministry of Jesus. This display of power and affirmation of divine pleasure would have assured a skeptical world that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Chosen One.
If He had only done this event in downtown Jerusalem, or on the steps of the Temple. But, no… just for Peter… James… and John.
And, then He told them not to tell them anyone!
The Transfiguration… the Transformation… was for them!
Can you IMAGINE the whining Jesus must have endured day in and day out by people who felt left out. People who wanted more and more of His time and attention, who wanted to direct His steps rather than follow them, people who jockeyed for position to be closer to Him than the next guy.
Even at an event like the Transfiguration there must have been jealousy:
· Everyone would have wanted to go and see the show, even the skeptics.
· The disciples, the thousands who claimed faithfulness, may have claimed their rights to be there.
· If there was a real case for attendance, it was with the Twelve. Don’t you know there was some gossip and fussing for those left behind at base camp when Jesus called out Peter, James and John as the only attendees!
Can’t you just hear Andrew talking all snotty-like, “Peter-James-and-John, Peter-James-and-John, Peter-James-and-John… I’m so sick of hearing their names. I hope He leaves them on that mountain. Lord’s pets.”
Everyone wanted to go up on the mountain, but Jesus only picked three because that’s where the transformation began.
As leaders we have stymied and stifled our personal and our organization’s progress again and again and again because we refuse to do the hard thing.
We try and take everybody up the mountain, and we refuse to head upward to transformation:
· Until we can get everyone to agree on which mountain
· Until we can get everyone to agree on what to pack
· Until we can get everyone to agree which trail to take
· Until we can get everyone to agree on when to leave
· Until we can get everyone to agree on what order we hike in
· Until we can get everyone to agree how far up the hill we’re going to climb
· Until we can get everyone to agree on what the agenda is for the climb and what the purpose is for the excursion and we come to a final agreement pertaining to the mission statement for this particular escalation, well, we just can’t set out… there’s no unity
Serioiusly… If we can learn any leadership lesson from Jesus in this passage it is that real moments of change and transformation are going to happen in small groups of leadership. Then their beliefs, experiences and drive can trickle down through the rest of the congregation/organization.
Leaders… it’s ok to lead. It’s your job.
There is no guilt in not taking everyone up the mountain. It’s the group you take up the mountain that you bring back down in the valley to lead EVERYONE over the next hill!
In church its understanding that not everyone will be on board with every change, nor can they be a part of every decision. It’s just not healthy.
As a parent it’s knowing that you don’t have to do it alone, but that there need to be some ‘mountain moments’ with a spouse and maybe even and older child. Transformation happens together.
As a businessperson its a greater understanding that tranfiguration happens at the top so that it can breath throughout the body. When a small team catches a vision, they can change they world.
Not everyone will make the initial journey, and there is no promise that everyone will make the trip with you even when you do come back from the mountain. Remember, even Jesus didn’t graduate all twelve from the program (Can any say, Judas?).
But, as a leader, we make the hard call and take those we need around us up on the mountain for moments of transformation. Then, it’s back to the valley to see what our metamorphosis has done.