What Can I Do? – Part IV: Lift & Lead

John Ed leading prayer on the steps of Valiant Cross Academy.


5. LIFT.

When I truly listen, learn, lean, and love – I then lift people. People of all educational backgrounds, social standings, races, nationalities, denominations – we all need to lift each other. Paul says, “build each other up.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:11) The Bible says that when one person tries to stand alone, it’s dangerous, because if he falls, there’s nobody available to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

I’ve been down at times in my life. I’m thankful for people who lifted me. All of us have times where we need to be lifted and times where we can lift others. Whether we are in a position to lift or be lifted, we need to do it. If you ever see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know he didn’t get there by himself!

I’m privileged to serve on the board of Valiant Cross Academy, which is doing this. A new class starts with 30 new scholars each year. After five years, we have 150 scholars, grades 6-11 – no dropouts! They come from at-risk backgrounds. The theme is “Rise Above.” I predict that they will be leaders in this city and state and will always remember to lift people as they have been lifted!

Every person deserves an opportunity in life, regardless of race, gender, etc. We can work to lift people to new levels economically by paying all people commensurate with the job that they are doing, lifting people to new levels of educational opportunities, lifting burdens, unjust practices, fears, etc. Lifting another person to a higher level in life is the best exercise for the heart.

6. LEAD.

The first five steps prepare me to lead. Each of us needs to step up and lead in our homes, churches, schools, businesses, teams, and politics. We need real leaders!

I don’t understand a lot about mass crowd psychology, but I understand that two or three people can lead a group of 100 to do things that could be good or bad. We’ve witnessed recently how a few people can lead others to destroy property and other people can lead to help build habitat homes for humanity.

We need leaders who say not what people want to hear but what they need to hear. We need leaders who are not looking to be popular but to lead us where we need to be. I remind you that the person who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.

“Dog leadership” is a term used years ago when a farmer would travel to town in his wagon. His dog would run in front as if he were leading. But when the wagon approached a fork in the road, the dog would slow down and look back to see which way the team of horses would go. The dog would then run out front again as if he were actually leading. Leaders don’t follow from behind, but step out in front and lead!

I want to be a leader who leads. General Eisenhower demonstrated leadership with a simple piece of string. He would put it on the table and say, “If you’re behind and push the string, it will simply wad up and go nowhere, but if you take the piece of string and pull it, it will follow wherever you wish.” Effective leaders are not in the back pushing but out front leading!

To summarize – I’m listening to God and people – I’m learning what God can do – I’m leaning on God for strength and direction – I’m striving to love all people – I’m looking for ways to lift people – I’m standing up to lead. This is what I can do.  What’s your plan of action?

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