On a recent Tuesday in November, amidst a hectic semester, something unexpected assaulted my week. I enjoy cycling, and a complication from a crash 18 months back surfaced out of nowhere.
Pain ravaged my hip, eventually driving me to crutches and altering my world for several weeks. Even as I write, the cause has yet to be identified.
As I leader, I prefer to live somewhat independently, avoid “burdening” others, and take care of my responsibilities. Yet, on that November day, all of these ideals came crashing down.
Classes were cancelled, deadlines missed, and I struggled just to eek by.
When hobbling into my “Self-Leadership” class one afternoon on 3 legs, I happened to notice a student’s textbook on the desk (one I’ve quoted before) entitle Leading With a Limp. The irony clanged like a gong.
I whispered a simple prayer, What are you up to right now, God?
Although His answer is still being revealed, I suspect God may be reminding me of my dependence on Him for every breath, every step, every task. That life and leadership is not only about giving, but also receiving.
The fact that Jesus put Himself at the mercy of others always strikes me as unusual.
To the woman at the well, he said “Will you give me a drink?” (John 4:7). About another who poured perfume on his feet, he said “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).
It seems that Christ, although He came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28), also understood the humility of receiving.
So, in recent weeks when a colleague has offered to cover one of my responsibilities, I’ve tried to say “yes, thank you.” When a group of students has offered to pray, I’ve said, “yes, I need that.” When my wife has offered to put the garbage out, I’ve said “thank you, that is so helpful!”
Which is easier for you – to give or to receive? How difficult is it for you to put yourself at another’s mercy? Where might you need to graciously receive, rather than solely give?
Daniel Gluck serves as Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies at Jessup, and Lead Faculty for the B.A. in Christian Leadership program.