Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life.
I'm Bernie Dake. And Steven, it is great to have you back for the third week with me anyway. You're usually behind the scenes. It's been a pleasure to be here to discuss leadership with everyone. I'm grateful for your vision. This week, we go back to the beginning of this series and we discuss motive.
When it comes to leadership, are we finding leadership opportunities out of ego or for the benefit of the kingdom? And then next week, cue the sleigh bells, we launch our Christmas series. And if you want to learn more or subscribe to Words of Life, visit us at salvationarmyradio.org. Major Murphy, good morning. Good morning again. I'm so happy to see you today. Yes, good to be here. Have a fresh cup of coffee to help me because I don't know if you know this, I have four children, which means I live with little tyrants all the time.
And my mornings are particularly filled with leadership, let's call it, everyday leadership. You have a son, Michael? Yes. How old is Michael? He's just turned 11. I'm sure you have a lot of Michael stories. I do. One of my favorite stories that happened not too long ago, actually, just earlier in the summer, your kids probably from time to time have crazy requests of you. Like, can I get this?
Yeah. Well, we were in the car coming back from school and he said, I need a staple puller. Staple puller?
You know, the staple remover, the one that has, you know, the jaws on it that you grasp the staple and it pulls it apart and removes it. That's what he wanted. He said he needed.
So obviously, thinking back, we bought his school supplies. I don't remember a staple puller being on the supply list, so I asked him, is it for school? No, it's not for school. Okay. Is it for home?
Yes. So I said, I can show you how to remove a staple from a packet of paper. No, no, I need a staple puller. We do have a stapler at home, so I guess, you know, he's stapling something.
So I said, exactly what do you need it for? That's when it got a little fuzzy. Right? Details are getting… Yeah. I really didn't have a sense of, he's telling me what he really wants it for.
So I did what I normally do when he asks for things. I say, not today. Because, oftentimes, probably with your children as well, it's forgotten, it goes away, it doesn't come around again. Often true.
So, we'll wait and see. It came up again. And these are not, you know, weeks apart.
These are just a couple days apart when we're out running around. Hey, can we get a staple puller here? Can we get a staple? Can we go and get a… Eventually, I just, we were in the store, and he asked again, and I said, yeah, apparently.
Okay. He really needs a staple puller. And I'll just pray that I don't get a phone call from school that he had, you know, grabbed somebody. I don't know.
So he got a staple puller. Nothing happened of it. He didn't speak about it again.
Didn't hear anything about it for a couple of days. And then one morning, I walk into the kitchen, and on the counter is his rubber snake. And crafted inside the mouth of the snake, expertly, in a way that actually looks real, was this staple puller and its fangs.
No. And the snake's curled up on the counter, ready to attack. Now, I have a snake phobia.
I do. I do not do snakes. Why'd you buy your son a snake if you have a snake phobia? I didn't buy him a snake. I didn't buy him a snake.
So the point of all that is this. He knew, he knew very well that if he was to say, I'm going to use a staple puller to enhance my snake, I would have said, that's not a good use of a staple puller. Not a chance.
That's not going to happen. Now, to be fair, we would not have gotten the staple puller snake, which is pretty cool. It really is. He's inventive. Yes, he is. He knew that I would say no. Therefore, he hid from me the truth, right, in order that he could accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. It's kind of smart.
It is. I don't know if that's what we're going for, but I applaud Michael. Well, the topic today is intent, intention or desire, and I think it's a fitting way to end where we've been, right? I think this is a fitting end because it links directly to the first session that we had on advancing God's kingdom, the purpose of leadership. If leadership has a purpose, then we need to ensure our desire is in line with that purpose if we're really going to be effective as leaders.
So, Major, in James 4, verse 3, we read, Key to that verse is that word, you ask wrongly, right? What James said there is you ask with the wrong motives. We know that scripture verse goes on to talk about the reason you didn't receive was your motive, your intent, your desire was your benefit. You ask for a good thing, but you ask so that it would better yourself. And I think in leadership we have to routinely be checking or testing ourselves to say, Am I desiring this for my benefit? Now we know that when we are given responsibility or we have positions, whatever it may be, that there are benefits that come. But is that the driving force? Is that the motivation? Is that our intent? And that's what this passage in James really speaks to.
You have desired the wrong thing, therefore you do not have it. Which is in juxtaposition with the verse that we read in 1 John, chapter 5. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him. And we hear this quoted a lot, don't we? That if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And that's the kicker. Yes. According to His will. The definition for that word there, one of them is His desire. And I like that definition because really we're weighing two things here. And we do this not as leaders, we do this as individuals, right? We're weighing my desire, His desire.
I want the snake things, my dad doesn't like them. Exactly. Right. Therefore, in Michael's case, I'm not going to give the whole story. The problem is that that doesn't work with God.
He's always seeing, hearing the entire story, right? What's in our heart, not just in our words. Exactly. Exactly. So really motive is essential. It's the key to leadership.
Yes. God honors the intention of our heart, right? That is really what we are desiring.
That is so very important. The question that I think we need to routinely ask ourselves is, what are we doing this for, right? Is this for our benefit, for the sake of our ego, right?
For the sake of our pleasure. Do we see effectiveness in leadership relating to our personal success or the way that we're going to be viewed by other people? Do we feel that it's going to lead us down a path that we want to go down, right?
In order for me to get here, either in my workplace or with my family, then I'm going to do this. But it's not for the situation, it's not for their benefit, it's not for the advancement of the kingdom, but rather it's to get me to a specific place. Is that why we want to lead? If that's the case, then I would say our motive is way off.
Our desire is way off. It really is for the kingdom of God, right? For His glory. That's God's desire for us.
Nothing less than that. And unfortunately, we often make it about ourselves. Personal gain. Exactly.
I think that's what I've loved about this whole series. So often when we're talking about leadership and when we're hearing podcasts and writers or whatever it is about different leadership, it's about that personal gain. Get yourself to the top level. Make millions of dollars.
Have all the cars. You know, it's just very much about personal gain and building yourself up and building yourself. Self is what it comes down to. But everything that you've been teaching us has very much not been about self, but it's been about the community. It's been about building up the community and building up the kingdom of God. And even sometimes that means stepping back in your own way.
Right. And I think that that's a much more powerful and effective level of leadership or test of leadership. Yeah, I think we need to end where we started, right? We started with understanding the purpose of, and I think we need to end with ensuring that we align ourselves with the purpose of whatever authority that we've been given, right? To ensure that we are leading others toward God's kingdom and whatever responsibilities that we've been given. Whether that's buying toys and getting children out the door.
Yes. Or being in a community group and leading in those realms with your peers all the way to roles and positions and those things that come with other benefits as well. There's nothing wrong with being a millionaire. Of course, that's not what we're saying, but that shouldn't be the goal for leadership.
That shouldn't be how we measure the success of a leader. So Major, what's our action point for today? I don't know if you saw it, but this past Sunday, there was a sheet passed out in the church that you and I attend, and there was a prayer on there. And one section of that prayer stuck with me. And this is what it said. It was speaking in that prayer to God. We were as we read that prayer.
It said, put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you. Let me be full. Let me be empty. Let me have all things.
Let me have nothing. I think today's action is really to test us as individuals. We've talked about spreading out and talking to other people. Let's just focus on us now and say, with the responsibilities we have right now, with what God has given us to advance His kingdom, are we sure that it is about Him and His kingdom and not about who we are, where we'd like to be, and the benefits that we receive along the way? That's the test.
And it really is up to us to decide. Major, thank you for this lesson today. I have learned so much from this series, and I'm grateful for all the work that you put into this for us. So thank you.
You're welcome. We want to say thank you to our listeners. We hope that you have learned a lot and enjoyed this series on everyday leadership as well.
And, Major, is there any final words you want to give to them today? I just think my prayer is that this has been helpful, right? That God uses all of us to advance His kingdom, every single one of us, no matter where we see ourselves. So everyday leadership is for all of us, and I hope that this takes us a little closer to perhaps those that didn't see themselves as having a real key part in what God is doing in this world. I hope this has helped you to understand that you do, that God has placed you where you are for this specific moment, and He deeply cares for you and has a role for you to play in spreading the gospel to the world. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support, and we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit salvationarmyradio.org to connect.
Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store, or visit salvationarmyradio.org to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
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