At Fortify, we often ask our readers to share with us the challenges they face as Christian leaders. And while we get a variety of suggestions, there are always a few that seem to stand out.
For the Fortify 2018 seminar on February 27, 2018, we’ve chosen speakers well equipped to share their experiences in dealing with forgiveness, humility, and commitment, three issues that concern and frustrate our readers. These aren’t just topics of general discussion but rather areas of major challenge to many leaders who want to make a positive impact on those who they are called to lead.
I know. I struggle with all three, especially humility.
I came face to face with my humility problem a few years ago. After my wife and I closed our business of 25+ years, my identity as a strong, successful provider for my family was severely shaken. I was no longer the “golden” boy that I assumed everyone saw me as. I was broken and I didn’t know what to do. I would soon learn that God heals his children in unique ways and He would provide the healing I needed through the wisdom of a career waitress.
When my “top-shelf” resume brought no executive-level job offers and with monthly expenses topping monthly income, I decided to try my hand at waiting tables at one of the local Cracker Barrel restaurants. How difficult could serving be, really? I can tell you that it was perhaps the hardest work I had ever done and some of the regular servers and several guests were convinced that I might be a part of the television show, “Undercover Boss.” I didn’t really look like most of the workers there and I was able to hide my embarrassment and shame when someone from my past would come in to eat and see me working as a server. I was surely better than this!
It was then that God decided to use Sheila to train me. Sheila was very real and wasn’t afraid to say what was on her mind. After getting snubbed and belittled by a table of folks that I actually knew from my previous life, Sheila fumed, “What is the matter with those people? They think that just because they have money, they are better than us servers. I am so blessed that I am not like them!”
Whoa! How could a career server who lived paycheck to paycheck really be happy that she was not like those people? I started to question my less-than-righteous attitude. Was I better than Sheila? No! Why should I be ashamed to work at her “level” when she had no desire to ever be like the person I had become in my “successful” life? WOW!
I vowed to spend the rest of my time there learning from Sheila and other servers because I knew that they could help me deal with my selfishness and lack of humility.
I will likely never be fully cured of the foolish pride that has infected and impacted my life for over 60 years. But I am much better now because God has given me grace and mercy and his Spirit is teaching and training me through key people like Sheila who he places in my path. And he will teach and train you as well if you are willing.
I’d like to personally invite you to come to Fortify 2018 where you’ll hear heartwarming stories of God’s great grace that overcomes human failure. And you’ll find tools that will help equip you become a better Great Commission leader. I guarantee it!