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(Part 44)


September 16, 2013

It is the fourth day of my Pilgrim Walk along the Camino de Santiago. Once again I share what I believe God wants to say to our servant leaders. So here are 7 additional principles on “How to Survive as a Servant Leader, and Even Thrive.”

Principle #22: Be humble, or else be humbled. On our first day I eagerly set off, together with other pilgrims, on a respectable pace, and finished the first stage ahead of our small group. Yesterday, I finished last, and every pilgrim passed me by. It is not a race of course, but it can be frustrating for everyone to pass you by. And of course, in the weakness of my body caused by painful knees, I was humbled. But humility is a great virtue, and the opposite of that great sin of pride. Humility can be very challenging for a Christian leader, because he has position and authority. But the leader is the servant, and the higher in position he is and the greater responsibility he has, the more humble he should be. Knowing how important a servant leader is to His work, God then opposes the proud and bestows favor on the humble. So humble yourselves, or God is going to do it for you, often in painful ways.

Principle #23: Pain leads you not only to humility but also worship. Due to the pain in my knee joints, I walked most of the way bowed down and looking at the path I was treading on. I needed to be careful, as an uneven rocky part or even a two-inch dip along the path would have caused stress to my knees or even caused me to fall. You too will encounter pain and difficulties in your life and service, and an uneven path. Your way through these is to keep your head bowed, in humility and in worship of God.

Principle #24: You are in the world but are not of it. At different parts of the camino, the path would run parallel to the highway. On the highway were fast cars roaring along. On the path would be the peregrinos, quietly moving along, with the quiet only disturbed by the greetings of “Buen camino” and the gentle crunch of shoes on the pebbly path. In life you also live in the world, but are pilgrims making your way to your heavenly homeland. It is easy to be distracted, or even to be enticed to live life according to the world. But you are a people set apart. You are to live counter culturally. To witness effectively to Christ and to care for God’s people in the way He would care for them, you must keep your focus on your life in Christ, and reject the allure of the world.

Principle #25: Keep your eyes fixed on divine markers along your way. The markers point the right path to the peregrinos. As I struggled to continue plodding on despite the pain, I was constantly looking at the kilometer markers, eagerly watching for the next one that would indicate I had gone another half-kilometer, and was that much nearer the end. Without markers it would be easy to lose your way. What are these markers? These are the words of God spoken to you when you pray and read the Bible. These are community formation courses that teach you how to live as a Christian. These are signs of fidelity to covenant such as attending meetings and financial stewardship. These are words of correction from elders or brethren. These markers indicate to you if you are progressing along your path, keep you from being absorbed by the world, and make you that much closer to heaven. Don’t miss those markers.

Principle #26: Others have much bigger crosses than you, so never despair or feel sorry for yourself. I struggled with finishing the daily courses due to my knee joint pains. But as I asked for prayers, I also prayed for those in need. And boy, some of those needs are really heavy and grave. Serious illness, a child lost in sin, financial crisis, marital strife. It then seemed as if my own cross was small. Those grave situations could also have happened to us, but they did not. Thank God that your cross is just the right size for you, small enough for you to bear, but big enough for God to work His purification process in you. Never let the cross bring you down, but embrace it and carry it along.

Principle #27: Your brethren are praying for you. When brethren heard about my plight (pain in knee joints), they offered their prayers. Then our Home Office blasted a prayer request to the whole CFC-FFL worldwide family on my behalf. Many responded. My brethren were rooting for me to finish the course, with or without pain. Since their prayers were going up to heaven to God, I believe the angels and saints in heaven were also rooting for me. Now as God is the One who called you to servant leadership, He wants you to succeed. He provides the wisdom, grace and power that you need. He is for you. So are the angels in heaven, because they want God’s plan to be carried out through you. Then again, your brethren too, especially those under you, want you to succeed, to be the leader who will be able to help them make it to heaven. With such prayer cover, in heaven and on earth, you have got it made!

Principle #28: At the end of the day, it is about you and God. Many pilgrims were on the path with me, ahead of me, behind me. There was the occasional chitchat with co-pilgrims. There were the rest and coffee breaks. There were nature scenes to be admired. There were wild berries to be picked. There were people traveling the same road, and people being passed along the way. But the most precious times for me were my times of reflection, of communing with my God. You too will be concerned with many things--family, livelihood, friends, recreation, community, parish, brethren, service, evangelization, etc. You will do many things and perform many services. But bottom line, it is all about your personal relationship with Jesus. Never be distracted. Keep your eyes fixed on him, center your life on him, and live only for him.

I am now halfway through my Camino de Santiago. Whether you are just starting as a servant leader, or halfway through, or inching towards the end of your life and service, I wish you all the best. Indeed the best is what God has given you. Give it your best as well.

God bless you all.

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