Acts 5:1-13; Matthew 6:1-4
Today, my men’s group was discussing Chapter 9 of Max Lucado’s Outlive Your Life, which is entitled “Do Good, Quietly.” Max has a way of noticing things I miss. In this instance, he zeroed in on Ananias and Sapphira having called attention to the gift they intended to make to the church.
In his telling, they publicly declared their pledge to sell the land parcel and contribute the proceeds to the church. I don’t find this part of the story in Matthew’s telling; however, it stands to reason since Peter challenges them for holding back part of the proceeds. Max concludes that part of their sin lies in seeking public adoration rather than making the gift quietly.
We devoted a great deal of our discussion to Jesus’ instruction to give and serve with no intention of receiving recognition. I find a deeper satisfaction in extending kindness anonymously whenever possible, which brings to mind Jesus’ admonishment “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand dis doing” when you give (our second scripture reference above).
I have grown increasingly wary of I Leaders. What we need is more We Leaders. I Leaders are constantly saying, “I achieved this,” “We would never have reached this milestone, if I hadn’t,” and “I am proud to announce” statements. We Leaders talk about team accomplishments: “We achieved,” “I can’t take credit, it was only through the efforts of these amazing people,” and “We are proud to announce” statements.
We leaders shoulder the blame when events take a negative turn. I Leaders blame the failure on others. “It wasn’t me, it was because of those people.” We leaders ask themselves questions like, “What did I contribute to this failure?” and “How can I intervene to prevent a recurrence?” As I think it through, I can’t recall a single instance where Jesus blamed anyone else. Yes, he was highly critical at times of the Pharisees and elders, but always for personal behavior, not for communal shortcomings. Even when he stood before Pilate and Annas, he called no one out for blame, shouldering it all himself.
We leaders exemplify compassion in all situations. They are focused on “getting it done,” whatever “it” might entail – and whatever it entails is always served with a liberal helping of kindness.
When the fat hits the fire, I want to be standing next to the We Leader, and in every possible opportunity I want to exhibit the traits of a We Leader myself.
Inspired by those who Do Good, Quietly,