I can’t sleep. It’s way past my bedtime. The phrase leadership matters is haunting me and keeping me up tonight. Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit last week said it over and over again, leadership matters, and I can’t get it out of my head. Leadership matters, in our homes, our jobs, our churches and our communities.
It feels very real to me just now because I just got word this evening that a very dear woman I knew in my distant past, from another season, another church, and another place that I was in leadership a long time ago has just graduated to heaven. A mutual friend of hers let me know that she was moments away from her last breath just two days ago. She shared I could text her and send an encouraging note. I responded right away that I would, but then I thought, How lame is that! I haven’t talked to her for a few years, what should I say?
It feels so fake, so insincere to come in at the 11th hour when someone is dying. What do you say to someone who is about to slip from earth to heaven?
But then I remembered how she had reached out to me a few times on social media to encourage me of how I had impacted her life ever so long ago. And yet she wanted to tell me that my leadership mattered. She didn’t care that we hadn’t talked for eons, it didn’t bother her that we weren’t at the same church anymore or even close friends, she just wanted me to know. It was a sheer act of kindness because she had eternity in view. People mattered to her and it was important. So I told her how much it meant to me the times she had reached out even if we weren’t very connected. I tried to muster up some brave encouraging words in her last moments. I didn’t expect a response, but her husband replied and thanked me for taking the time to send her a note. I cried.
That is what is keeping me up tonight because it scares me to think of the times that I have carelessly behaved or threw out words without regard to how they might impact others.
And yet, this sweet soul was in the background watching my life as a leader and was blessed those many years ago.
I didn’t even realize how much my leadership mattered back then. I was green and inexperienced.
There’s one more thing that’s been haunting me, words from Ephesians that I’ve been trying to commit to memory lately, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love.
These words are words that propel me like my distant friend who has just finished her race to intentionally focus on things in life that truly matter.
To make certain I don’t forget to embed deeper in my soul qualities like humility, gentleness, patience and most of all to love people well.
Because when all is said and done, it really does matter! God says over and over again in His book that it does. I know I don’t get it right all the time, I already messed up today at least three times but it’s the goal I want to keep in front of me, it’s the legacy I choose.
Loving well matters.
Our words matter.