This is a picture of courageous leadership. To move yourself from first to last. From most important to least important. To put someone else’s forever needs in front of your temporary embarrassment. I wonder how many of us could make such a difficult decision. Jesus taught in Mark 9:35 “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” (MSG). Certainly birth mom’s giving their babies to adoptive parents make the ultimate courageous decision, putting their own wants last and serving the needs of the baby first. This is what it means to live out Jesus’ teaching, to put your own needs behind that of others. What a gift to the child and to the adoptive parents. The ultimate in freedom of choice.
This also reminds me of historical account of Hannah, mother of Samuel, found in I Samuel 1:11. Hannah wanted a baby so much that she promised God she would give the child to His service if he would grant her prayer request to have a family. So, there is a difference here. Hannah wasn’t a single mom finding herself in an unwanted pregnancy. But here’s the similarity. Hannah gave her baby to God. She trusted Him with her child. Birth mothers giving their children to adoptive parents must also trust that baby to God, to His care and protection all the days of their life. This is a picture of courage. I suggest that courageous leaders differentiate themselves by seeking God as part of their decision making process, and trust Him with the results. They trust Him with the ultimate outcome of their hard work, long hours, crucial conversations, and intentional choice to model excellence in leadership every day.
Now for the application, a few questions to ponder:
- How can we apply this to our everyday lives, in our careers, families, and communities?
- How does this apply to the leadership behaviors we choose to demonstrate in our homes, communities, and at work?
- Have you ever made a decision that involved putting the needs of another leader or business unit above your own, for the common good?
- As a strong and capable person, do you consider God in decision making and trust Him to deliver optimal results?
One of the many attributes of courageous leadership is making the choice to put your own needs behind those of others. This is a differentiator. Raises the bar. Here are a few examples. I know a local guy who started clearing snow from all of his neighbor’s driveways, just because. And the same guy that mows the yards of neighbors, just because. I work with a senior leader in a large corporation who always gives credit where credit is due, even when it would be convenient to bask in the lime-light himself. Offer the benefit of the doubt. Have pure motives. Trust your team. Put your own needs after those of your team. Last year a group of executives at my company gave up their merit increases so associates in their organizations could receive a greater portion of available funds.
And, when it comes to seeking God as part of your regular decision making process, that’s the easy part. For highly capable people it is the trusting Him to deliver results, rather than relying on our own might, that is the most difficult thing. I want to encourage you to make a conscious decision to do this regularly, to trust Him, try Him, and see what happens. There are plenty of examples from my own experience that I can share to proven that God is still in the business of delivering above and beyond for folks who follow Him. But, I’ll save those and some remarkable Biblical models for another time.
I hope you enjoyed this two-part blog. Thanks for going down memory lane with me. I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers lately.