Matthew 12:33-35 NLT
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”
Merriam-Webster’s definition of treasury: a place in which stores of wealth are kept
Years ago, as a new pastor, I quickly realized I was in way over my head, and I knew that if I didn’t rise to the occasion, I would surely fail. That's when I cried out to The Lord, "I don't want to be a shooting star. I don't want to be a flash in the pan, here today gone tomorrow! That guy Jonathan Del Turco had great potential, but does anybody know where he is, what happened to him?"
It was a great day of victory for me when I finally understood it is not about me, it is all about the people. In my heart I heard, “It's not about building a great church it's about building a great people!” That put everything into perspective for me. If my heart was right, my leadership would be right and the people would be built God’s way. That phrase has been our compass for decades of ministry.
Life and leadership is lived from the heart. As leaders, if we are whole and secure, we can have healthy relationships, and build strong leaders that will build strong teams that will change people’s lives.
Before that time, I could see this big gap between where I was and where I wanted to be—where I needed to be! So I made the best decision I could possibly make…..I determined to grow.
Discovering my worth is based on the love of God. My worth is not based on what I do or how many people need me, but on who I am in Christ. My trust is in Him and my deepest needs are met by Him.
My assignment is to lead people into the freedom that Christ has already provided for them. Galatians 5:1 (NIV) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free….” Now, because I am free, I long to help others discover their freedom and walk in their free place in Christ. I learned to help people become more dependent on God and His Word, not me. I was able to become a leader who could be that constant encourager always helping others to fulfill their vision and reach their potential.
While working through this process of personal growth and security, that it was not about me, I learned a valuable lesson. We all have heard the statement, "Leaders are not born they are made." In other words, they don't come out already trained. One day while meditating on this truth (day dreaming) I saw a picture of a forest. I heard the Lord say to me, "what do you see? I replied,” bark, moss, bugs, dirt, leaves...” I heard Him ask, "Have you ever found a finished piece of furniture in the middle of the forest." Of course my answer was, "No!" Then the question, "What has to happen for there to be a finished piece of furniture?”
I began to think that it would take a lot of work. Someone has to cut down the trees, clean the trees, haul the trees away, and cut the trees into 2x4's. Then someone, who knows how to build furniture, needs to put the furniture together piece by piece. Then someone needs to sand it, stain it and seal it. It’s a process. I freely admit, so often all I saw was the bark, moss, bugs, dirt and leaves of the people around me.
The lesson I learned…Too many times I looked at people and only saw their faults because I was looking for finished pieces of furniture in the forest.
Everyone needs someone to believe in them and to see what they don’t see in themselves. That is exactly how Jesus looks at us. He doesn’t see all the bark, moss, bugs, dirt and leaves. He sees us as that beautiful piece of finished furniture ready for use.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart.” Healthy leadership comes from being secure enough, in who God made you to be, to be able to see the potential finished product in the people He sends you.
Who are you presently believing in? Who are you helping to see what they don't see in themselves? There are a lot of trees waiting to be made into beautiful pieces of furniture.