Many Soma leaders on the gospel, community and mission in the everyday…
Men, Leadership & Responsibility
My dad left our family when I was one. Like many men, his identity was wrapped up in his work, and I think his voluntary slavery to alcohol medicated his fear of failure. He lived in a van down by the river. Over the years I tried to visit occasionally, but stomaching the filth and squalor he chose to live in made the visits infrequent and brief.
I wanted so much to know him and I didn’t. I wanted so much for him to be released from his bondage and experience a life of freedom and health. I yearned for a meaningful conversation with him and it started when on the phone I told him I loved him.
Yearning for more spiritual dialogue with him on a visit, I clumsily blurted out “I forgive you, Dad”. He gave me a quizzical look and asked “For what?” “For leaving your family,” I replied. In true Adam-like fashion he wanted me to know my mother was to blame.
It seems that all of us fall into that same pattern to varying degrees. We tend to place blame rather than take responsibility, myself included.
Quoting John Maxwell, my friend often says, “everything rises and falls on leadership” and “leadership takes responsibility.” If leadership is truly about influence and not just position, then all of us are leaders because we all have influence. But ineffective leaders make a habit of blaming others while effective leaders are ones who take responsibility.
Men who take responsibility for their families inspire me. It’s no small thing to accept the responsibility to lead a family spiritually, love your wife like Jesus loved the church, provide, protect, nurture and much, much more that the Bible calls us to. I believe when we begin to understand the weight of all that responsibility, we will be driven to desperate humility and dependence on our Father in heaven. Without his help it’s impossible.
Jesus, my hero, accepted responsibility. He took on himself all of the blame we rightly deserved. And when the weight of that responsibility became unbearable, it drove Jesus to the Father to plead for help. His flesh fought him but through his dependence on the Father he endured and traded his righteousness for our sin. It’s only because he took responsibility for our failings that empowered by his strength working through us we can lead by taking up responsibility for others.
Our Father in heaven is a good father. He gives grace to the humble and doesn't give us a stone when we ask him for bread. May we as men accept the responsibility of leadership and may the weight of that burden cause us to cry out to the Father for help.