September 17, 2010

Going all in

Today I was reading 1776 by David McCullough which I've started for the third time but still haven't finished. It's not a bad book by any means, but just one of those it takes several times to jump before it gets rolling.  I'm hoping the third time's the charm.

Anyway, as I was reading on the bus today, I came across a few sentences about George Washington. Earlier this summer I read a biography of him (His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis if you are looking for a good one) so his presence in the story is somewhat like watching a flashback of a character whose story you know so well, but now a part player in the context of others.

Washington's wealth and way of life, like his physique and horsemanship, were of great importance to  large numbers of the men he lead and among many in Congress. The feeling was that if he, George Washington, who had so much, was willing to risk "his all," however daunting the odds, then who were they to equivocate. That he was also serving without pay was widely taken as further evidence of the genuineness of his commitment. (pg. 48)

Washington's leadership was inspirational because if he was willing to put so much on the line for the cause, they who had relatively little to put up surely could do the same.

My initial takeaway from this was purely in the realm of leadership.  Those in the highest positions, those who are the most visible to the crowd have an extremely important role to play. The amount of themselves they are willing to personally sacrifice for the sake of a collective cause has a direct impact on how those below them will respond. If their leader doesn't appear to care or concern himself with taking a risk to face a seemingly insurmountable challenge, his followers in their relatively smaller capacities will respond in kind.

When those you lead do not appear to care about a mission that you personally believe in, it may be because you haven't truly displayed your personal commitment to it.

However, I then thought about Christ and His willingness to risk "his all."

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)

Christ's sacrifice on the cross was a deliberate act of going all in and trading all he had for the sake of the cause of man. However in a far greater act of modeling, seeing the humility of Christ which God then exalted, we must also model our behavior as He did.

In James, it is written, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:7-10 (ESV)

Our humbling of ourselves, rather our going all in for a cause greater then ourselves, is like a militiaman's sacrifice compared to that of George Washington. Well, sort of like that on a much different scale.  But if Christ was able to give up so much, who are we to equivocate?  And God Himself will then lift us up.

1 comment:

Mithun said...

Thanks for this post, Ryan. I'm using it in a sermon tomorrow :-).