With our culture placing so much emphasis on external appearance, we have learned to become increasingly observant. Our commercials sell us products we don’t always need, and tell us that unless the product we’re buying into isn’t fast-acting, long-lasting, cheap, and appealing to the eyes, then it’s a waste of time. We follow suit when we are quick to throw out answers to questions that aren’t being asked to us, and even more so, giving solutions to problems we haven’t fully understood. What is inside of us that needs direct, on-the-spot problem solving, and how do we practice out and live by a deep-running faith that bears fruit of patience and understanding? It is not enough to just be observant or a servant. People who are keenly observant are often know-it-alls, and no one likes a know-it-all. Why? Because they don’t gain understanding from the facts they acquire, they just want knowledge, and they are hardly ever equipped with useful wisdom. Whimsical servants are often the ones on the front lines of the battle fields, but they don’t really know why they’re doing what they’re doing. While a willing heart might be good to help you move into your new house, we need leaders who ask for more than the work, but also the wisdom that is often found in the work.
An observant servant is one who is slow to speak and quick to listen, one who lays down his life for his brothers, not just when it’s convenient. It’s not enough to be able to call it like you see it (Matthew 16:1-3) or be a never-ending Yes Man, because both of these attributes without the Spirit are dead works.
In effective leadership, we must understand the difference between guessing and leading, obligation and servanthood, and between observation and discernment. There are gifts the Spirit gives that surpass every bit of earthly logic, if we would only just recognize that Spirit within us. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is also finishing a work inside us. With patience and kindness, we are being renewed, with an open invitation into life-giving change. We ought to extend the same invitation to ourselves and to those around us.