Summary: Servant Leaders are able to see beyond the present into the future
Servant Leadership Part 8: Conceptualisation
One Sunday, the preacher went on for a little longer than normal. After the service, people went by the preacher, tired and exhausted. One of them went up to him and told him. “Your sermon reminded me about Peace of God and Love of God”. The preacher was very excited, that at-least some one found comfort in his sermon. So he asked him to tell him more about it and how he found Peace of God and Love of God in his sermon. “Well” the man said. “I found Peace of God in your sermon because it passed all understanding, and I found Love of God in your sermon because it endured forever.”
I am going to carefully listen to your comments today after the sermon.
I am going to speak to day on yet another attribute of my favourite topic, Servant Leadership.
How many of you dream? During day or night? I know that some of us are capable of dreaming with our eyes open, especially during church sermons, right? Well, I am here to clarify that dreaming is a Leadership quality. This Leadership Quality is called “Conceptualisation”. While this is generally required for all leaders, it is especially required for Servant Leaders. Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." But what does this actually mean? The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. While we must focus on day to day realities, we should be able to look beyond them and see beyond what is there today. Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between conceptualization and day-to-day focus.
Let us look at some of the Biblical leaders for example. We cannot have a sermon on Leadership without speaking about Nehemiah. So let us look at him first. The first three Chapters of the book of Nehemiah is a great example of how Nehemiah was able to conceptualize both the problem and the solution, much before he even saw it. He know that it had to be corrected, and he knew how to get it done, through the cooperation and passion of the people who were there. And because of that great leader the Jews were able to rebuild the wall in just 52 days. Just imagine, 52 days to rebuild what has been lying in ruin for more than 120 years. That is the power of conceptualisation.
Have I told you about one of my dreams. Well, even if I have, let me tell you again. And this dream recurs every time I have to preach. Here is my dream. I die and go to heaven. At the gate of heaven there is a queue. I patiently stand in the queue and await my turn. In front of me is a person dressed in dirty khaki. Finally his turn comes. He steps up. St. Peter asks him for his credentials and he says, “I am Muniyappa, and I was an auto driver in Bangalore”. St Peter looks up the thick book, and nods his head. Yes your name is there and you can go in. here is a your welcome gift. Muniyappa excitedly opens the welcome gift pack and finds among other things, a golden shawl and a golden staff. He is very happy and enters heaven laughing and singing. I am excited too. After all who does not like gifts right? So I eagerly step forward and tell St Peter. I am Madana Kumar and I am lay preacher. I do bible studies and give sermons regularly. St Peter looks up the book again and nods his head. Yep, your name is there, you can go in and here is your welcome gift. I am very excited about the gift, since I have already seen what Muniyappa got. So I open the gift package and am disappointed. I see among other things, a cotton shawl and a wooden staff. So I decide to appeal. Hey Bro Peter, Are you sure you gave me the right package? Did you not hear what I told you? I am a preacher, a so called man of God on earth. Is this the right gift for me?” St Peter cuts me off and tells me .. well, here is heaven we go by results. When Muniyappa drove his autorikshaw in Bangalore, people used to pray. When you used to preach, people used to sleep”. So you see why I am so concerned about whether you sleep in church or not?
But on a more serious note, the dream that Jesus is asking us to dream is not similar to mine. In John Ch 13, Jesus demonstrates the Servant Leadership act and then talks to the disciples about his own death (John 13:31-35). On hearing about his sufferings and death, , the disciples are troubled and sad. That is when Jesus turns the table around in John 14: 1-4: Let us read those comforting words. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." They are very very comforting words for us, isn’t it. But I want you for a moment to go beyond those comforting words, and see another message beyond those words. Jesus is telling the disciples to look beyond the immediate issue troubling their hearts. He is asking them to look at the big picture. He is asking them to look into the future. He is asking them to conceptualise the vision that He has for them. Jesus is asking them to dream BIG.