Summary: This is and adaptation of a book by John Maxwell on leadership.
I. We have talked about character, commitment, communication, and competence, and there is no way that I can say how important those things are, but the list of things that we need to be concerned with about leadership does not stop there by any means.
A. If we are going to lead in our family, at work, in our service for God or in any organization in the culture that we live in today, we definitely have to have courage.
B. What do these three men have in common?
1. The Auto racer who set the world speed record at Daytona in 1914.
2. The pilot who recorded the most aerial combat victories against the Germans in WWI.
3. And the Secretary of War’s special advisor who survived a plane crash and twenty-two days on a raft in the Pacific ocean during WWII.
C. They all lived through some dangerous circumstances, they all displayed courage and they were all the same man, Eddie Rickenbaker.
D. Eddie Rickenbacker was always up to a challenge. When he was twelve his father died and he became the family’s breadwinner. He worked selling newspapers, eggs, and goat’s milk.
1. Then he worked in a glass factory, a brewery, and a foundry, and then as a teenager he became a race car mechanic, and at age 22 he started racing and at 24 broke the world speed record.
E. When WWI started he tried to enlist as a aviator, but was overage and under educated, so he started the war as a chauffeur and talked his superiors into sending him to fight school.
1. Despite not fitting in with his younger college educated aviators, he excelled as a pilot, and by the time the war was over he had logged over 300 hours in combat, survived 134 aerial battles, and claimed 26 kills of German planes.
2. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, eight Distinguished Services Crosses, and the French Legion of Honor, and was promoted to captain and put in command of his squadron, and was nicknamed the American Ace of Aces.
3. When he was asked about his courage he admitted that he had been afraid, but then said, "Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared."
4. After the war he became the president of what became Eastern Airlines, made it the first airline that showed a profit and was not government subsidized, and when the President of the United States canceled their Commercial carriers air mail contracts he took him on and won.
5. After he died at age 83 his son William wrote "if he had a motto it must have been the phrase I have heard a thousand times;" "I’ll fight like a wild cat."
F. When you look at the life of someone like Eddie Rickenbacker you have to see courage, but it can also be seen in every person that steps up to be a leader in any organization, if what they lead moves forward they have had to have made some courageous decisions.
G. I know that there are a lot people who are afraid to step up and be leaders, and I know that there are a lot of you that feel the same way, but God needs people who will show the courage to step forward even though they are scared and unsure about their ability to lead.
H. And I can assure you of this without any doubt this church needs people who will step up and be the leaders that it needs, to move forward in the job that God has put it here to do.
II. Some things that we need to know about courage are:
A. COURAGE BEGINS WITH AN INWARD BATTLE. Every test that you face as a leader and every test that you face about stepping out to become a leader begins inside you.
1. The test of courage is no different. Psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp says "All the significant battles are waged within self."
2. Courage is never the absence of fear, it is doing what you are afraid to do, it is it is having the power to step out into new territory even though is it a scary thing.
3. And in the case of service to God it is putting yourself in God’s hands to help you do that which you don’t feel capable of doing in God’s power instead of your own.
B. COURAGE IS ALSO MAKING THINGS RIGHT INSTEAD OF JUST SMOOTHING THEM OVER.
1. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. made a statement that is surely true, he said, "the Ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy."