Last Week I hosted sixteen men from City Church Eastside for a leadership retreat at our mountain cabin. The men ranged from 25-40 years old and were as strong a group of leaders as I’ve ever been around. The theme for the weekend was Dan Allender’s book Leading with a Limp.
Each morning I started off the session with a twenty-minute talk that was followed by breakout discussion groups. After lunch, the guys went off hiking or fly fishing. I’ve given up trying to keep up with these guys on the trail, so I stayed behind at the cabin to enjoy the afternoon. We had gotten an unexpected three feet of snow, so trekking around was a challenge anyway.
I walked through the snow over to our camping hytte (what our Norwegian friends call their mountain cabin), moved a chair out into the sun, and sat to contemplate and meditate on the view of the Continental Divide. Richard Foster calls this a form of prayer: prayers of adoration.
Looking at Twin Sisters and the Mummy Range. The depression is our fire
As I sat and pondered God’s creation, in my mind I began to criticize my talk that morning. I’m bad to try to fit ten pounds of sugar in a five pound bag, and I dwelt too long on certain points, and did not get to others. I caught myself being self-critical and realized the foolishness of it all.
When we built our cabin at Eagle Peak, part of my vision was to do leadership conferences and retreats here. I realized that the weekend was a realization of that vision, and in the midst of it I was finding things to criticize.
In 1995 I articulated a set of values and specific goals to live into those values. I came to summarize the entire list into an aspiration to become a wise leader. As I sat there criticizing my attempts to be ‘wise’ that morning in my talk, a question formed in my mind. “Who is wise?” As I sat with that question, another question formed, “What wisdom do you have but the wisdom of God?’ And another, “Do you have any wisdom that I have not given you?”
This scripture passage immediately came to mind: Luke 18:18-20:
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
In Leading with a Limp, Allender says if we are going to truly be leaders for Christ, we will have to be willing to be foolish leaders. If we are to be leaders in the work of the Kingdom, we must be willing to be seen as foolish in the eyes of the world.
At that moment, I realized how foolish it was to desire to be a wise leader. I turned a corner and decided that for the next season of my life I would embrace being a fool.