We are often defined by our roles in life.  Some of those roles come within our family structure: parent, child, sibling, close friend.  Others come with work: boss, laborer, innovator, number cruncher, paper pusher.  Yet, there are some roles that seem to follow us everywhere:  supporter, encourager, challenger, thinker, donut guy, leader.  (Note: One of those may just apply to me…you decide.)

Regardless of who you are, what you do, and whether or not you consider yourself to be a leader, there are people that look at you that way.  Maybe you aren’t a parent, but perhaps your siblings look up to you.  Perhaps you are not the boss in your office, but your coworkers respect your work and value your opinion.  You may consider yourself the donut guy wherever you go, but there are people counting on those donuts.

As a leader, you are held to a higher standard.  People are watching you to see how they should behave and react.  Others mimic your attitude and your approach to getting things done.  People may even look to you when things aren’t going well in hopes that you will turn things around.  Being a leader can be a lot of pressure, but our ability to influence others toward Christ is something all of us should cherish…and not take lightly.

People are watching.  And we always seem to think about that negatively.  We watch ourselves to guard our mistakes.  We mask our pains and struggles.  We worry that our leadership can lead people down the wrong path.  That often takes the focus off of leading them down the right path.

Just as quickly as somebody can pick up your bad habit, they can learn from your discipline.  As dangerous as it can be to risk sharing your flaws, the reward can be great when we allow people to see our victory over our struggles.  As much as we might be afraid that we will lead others away from God, it is our most important job to lead them to Him.

The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. (1 Chronicles 29:9a NIV)

Whether you like it or not, you are a leader.  Instead of worrying about messing up and having a negative influence on the people around you, turn your focus to all of the positive things that you can do.  Get out of your comfort zone and step out in faith, go out on a limb in love, take some risks and let others see you put your hope in the Living God.

What do you appreciate about the leaders in your life?  How have they helped you grow closer to God?