servanthood

Are You Modeling A Servant Spirit?

But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)

 

Chick-fil-A Servant Spirit:  In Theory

 

Awhile ago, I read an issue of In Touch, the magazine produced by Dr. Charles Stanley’s church, First Baptist Atlanta. The publication featured an article titled: “Dan Cathy: Leading the Next Generation at Chick-fil-A.”  The article mentioned that Mr. Cathy “spends most of his time traveling, helping with grand openings for new franchises, staying attuned to customers’ needs, and modeling a servant spirit for the employees.”

 

The fact that Chick-fil-A includes “modeling a servant spirit for employees” as a part of their corporate culture and one of their most critical business imperatives speaks volumes for their focus on servant leadership. In the article, Dan states:

 

God wants to use the local church to make a difference. There are so many negative forces going on in our society. This is a fallen culture that we live in…but if we’ll acknowledge God in all our ways, then not only for us as a family and as a business but even for us all as a nation, God will continue to direct our paths.

 

Chick-fil-A Servant Spirit:  In Practice

 

I had the unique opportunity to experience Dan Cathy’s humble attitude and servant leadership approach in person when I recently had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with him at a Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he was the keynote speaker.

 

During his powerful presentation, he shared a number of interesting items and artifacts and explained how each symbolized specific leadership principles. One of these articles was a shoe brush. Dan explained how it was used for brushing and shining shoes, but, for him, it also represented the importance of remaining a humble servant and reminded him of how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

 

Well, after explaining this, Dan asked a gentleman from the audience to come and stand beside him. And to our utter amazement, Dan got on his knees and actually rolled up the cuffs of the man’s trousers and brushed and shined his shoes!  When he finished, he pulled the cuffs back down, stood up, and gave the man a hug! Dan explained that this is the type of servant attitude that he tries to impart to his employees. Dan’s actions transcended his words in an extraordinary way and left an affirmative, indelible impression that I will never forget.

 

We must always pray for spiritual discernment in creating a corporate culture that is not only authentic, but also honors God.  You should be so much of a positive influence on others that their lives should be enhanced as a result of being under your leadership and authority. I believe the definition of an exceptional leader is one who serves and enhances the lives of others by moving them closer to God and the achievement of their spiritual calling and purpose.  If you can create a culture to facilitate this, then you are one step closer to truly transforming the workplace and marketplace.

 

 

Far Exceeds

“God’s plan for your life, far exceeds the circumstances of your day.” As the end of the year is here, it is customary to review our performance with our manager / employer. The first step often is a “self-appraisal” that we prepare and present to our boss for consideration. This process typically entails a review of our goals and objectives for the year, an assessment of how well we did in terms of our job responsibilities, an evaluation of our work effort, and ends with our perspective concerning our strengths and “opportunities for improvement.” And many times we are asked to rate ourselves on the company’s rating scale – e.g., far exceeds, exceeds many, meets all, meets some, fails to meet.

What would it look like if you did a self-appraisal with your Creator / God?

We would start with our job responsibilities, which could be summed up in a few words … Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And, Love your neighbor as yourself.

From there we could move on to the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the “Whatever You Did to the Least of My Brothers” responsibilities. How would you and I rate ourselves? Outstanding? Very Good? Satisfactory? Needs Improvement? What specific examples do we have to support our rating?

We then would move on to the section on how we get the work done … things like problem-solving, organizing people and resources to accomplish tasks, handling pressure, following through, meeting deadlines, achieving balance between work quality and quantity, taking responsibility for actions, cooperating with others, having a positive attitude, listening to feedback well, striving to do the best job possible, and so forth. How would we evaluate our prayer life, loving one another in our relationships, extending forgiveness, honoring the Sabbath, serving the poor, multiplying our talents, being humble, giving thanks?

Finally, we come to the last page – the identification of strengths and those darn “opportunities for improvement.” And the bottom line – our overall rating / grade / score.

This process feels quite daunting and intimidating to me. Yet very valuable and meaningful if I truly want to serve God with all my heart, soul, mind, and body. And the amazing news is that we always get the maximum reward! No matter what our performance! Because God gave us His Son to redeem us. His Love is not conditional on your or my performance. God “far exceeds” all the time.