February 16, 2022
Serving leaders reflect on how they will finish to keep their own focus on the right areas. But they quickly turn to serve those they lead by also encouraging them to think about finishing well. Although leaders are often further along in their own life journey than those they lead, they consider the implications of Paul’s words for those they lead as well.
6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6–8, NIV).
Serving leaders ask “What are you doing to finish well?“ to keep the cost in mind.
“I am already being poured out like a drink offering…” Paul does not hide the cost of serving leadership, it is a giving up and pouring out. Leadership is costly. But his focus on finishing well makes the cost worthwhile. Serving leaders want the best for those they lead so they ask for a high level of commitment. They call others to personal and professional growth as well as higher levels of responsibility. But they acknowledge that more responsibility will require more discipline, effort, and focus. While they understand that not everyone is willing to pay the price, they invite those who follow to be willing to pay the costs by asking them to reflect on the long term instead of the short term.
Serving leaders remind those they lead that the cost they pay today will bring benefits tomorrow.
Serving leaders ask “What are you doing to finish well?“ to keep the end in mind.
“The time for my departure is near.” Paul was aware that the time he had was short. But he was confident that because he had lived well, he would also finish well. He lived his entire life with the end in mind. He nearly lost his life several times when he was stoned, beaten and shipwrecked. He may have been surprised that he lived this long! Because he lived with the end in mind, he did not fear the end. Serving leaders help those they lead to keep the end in mind. While there are current tasks that need to be done, serving leaders ask questions about the future. “Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?” “What will it look like if you keep developing your strengths for the next 10 years?” “What are you doing now to ensure strong family relationships in the future?” Questions like these help followers to focus not only on the tasks for today, but on the targets for tomorrow.
Serving leaders remind those they lead that long term gains are more important than short term successes.
Serving leaders ask “What are you doing to finish well?“ to keep the rewards in mind.
“There is in store for me the crown…” Paul was able to look ahead at the prize that was the reward of a life well lived. This perspective made the pain of being “poured out” worthwhile. He was able to finish well by keeping the rewards in mind. Serving leaders do not ignore the need for short term rewards. But they serve those they lead by helping them focus on the long-term rewards of finishing well.
Serving leaders remind those they lead that the most significant rewards come at the end of a life well lived.
For further reflection and discussion:
- What costs am I asking those who follow me to pay? Have I been open about what it costs to grow as a leader? How can I encourage those who are growing to reflect on the long term instead of the short term? How do I respond to those who are not willing to pay the price of growing?
- What am I doing to help those who follow to focus on long term gains? What questions should I be asking those I lead to help them gain a long-term perspective? When will I talk with someone about this?
- Has my leadership focused on short-term rewards or long term? How can I keep the needed short-term rewards but help those I lead focus on the rewards that come from a lifetime of living well?
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll look at a new topic.