Sunday, June 7, 2009

Monday Morning Leadership Devo: The Committed Leader – Part 2

Last week I asked what commitment means to you. Today, I want to dissect commitment a bit further. In my years of ministry experience, I have observed three things about commitment that I want to share with you.

1. Commitment starts in the heart.

It was Michael Jordan who said, "Heart is what separates the good from the great." Jordan certainly understands something about commitment. But it was Jesus that said,

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45 (ESV)

It all starts with the heart. You have to "want" it. Do you remember the Rocky movies? I love the character of Rocky Balboa. He is everyman's hero. If you'll recall, the third movie was titled The Eye of the Tiger. The movie begins with Rocky as the champion of the world. But a young and arrogant fighter, Clubber Lang (played by Mr. T), was obsessed with taking Rocky down. He was hungry, and beating the Italian Stallion was the focus of his heart. When he finally got his chance, he pounced and soundly defeated an unprepared Rocky. In the fallout, Rocky's best friend, Apollo Creed, gets in his face and tells Rocky what has gone wrong. "You've lost the eye of the tiger," he says. What he was really saying was that Rocky had lost heart. And when he tells Rocky that he has to get the eye of the tiger back, what he means is that Rocky has to find the heart of a champion again. You can't be a world champion without commitment, and commitment begins in the heart.

2. Commitment is tested by action.

Saying and doing are not the same. Anyone can talk the talk, but commitment enables you to walk the walk. Remember how Michael Jordan used to wag that tongue as he was going up for a slam dunk? If you're going to wag the tongue you better be able to deliver. Back to our Rocky movie, Clubber Lang ended up being all talk. His fists could not back up his mouth. Rocky, on the other hand, did very little talking (in all of the Rocky films!) Instead, Rocky was all about action.

Jesus Christ was a man of action. As I read back through the gospels, I notice that Jesus did very little talking in the hours leading up to and through his execution. What little he did say was focused on other people. Jesus instead was focused on sacrifice, his sacrifice to save the world. Such a sacrifice required commitment, tested by action.

3. Commitment opens doors to real achievement.

Commitment born in the heart, and tested by action, will eventually open the door to real achievement. I have always loved the story of Thomas Edison. Edison is most known for his invention of the light bulb which changed everything for all of us. But Edison was about SO much more than most realize. He was once named by Life magazine as the number one man of the millennium. Besides the light bulb, he invented 1,092 other items and ended up holding more patents than anyone in the world. He essentially invented something new every year for 65 consecutive years. So what have you done to change the world this year?? If you think Edison must have just been some extra-gifted individual that none of us could ever match up to, consider his own words, "Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. If we did all the things we were capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves."

Edison was all about hard work, commitment. It took him over 10,000 tries to get the incandescent light bulb to work correctly. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up," he was noted as saying.

So how's your heart? What about your action? What about your achievement? It all goes back to commitment.

Passage for Reflection:

Psalms 37:5 (ESV)
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

"Lord, may I commit my heart and feet to you and your ways. Amen."



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