“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu
I remember when I was a young parishioner at St. Mary’s in Griffith. We had a priest there once who told us what he thought the definition of a great priest might be. He said that he would consider himself to have been a great priest if, a week after he left the parish, if people would talk about him, they would say “Father Who?”
That left me flabbergasted. I could not understand what he was trying to say. Of course, as a youth, I wanted to make sure that everyone would remember me. I could not think about someone wanting to be forgotten. What he said stuck in my mind and I ruminated over it through the years. It wasn’t until I was older that I got his message. He did not want to be remembered by name because he did not want to make his ministry all about himself.
There are people out there who often make their ministries about themselves. Most of us think immediately of some of the televangelists of the past (or present) who do not seem to be in it for the Lord but for their own gain: power and prosperity. These kinds of people definitely want to be remembered. They develop a “cult of personality” rather than relationships with Jesus. They put themselves before God in many ways.
When we lead, we need to lead by action and love. Our leadership should be such that it empowers and emboldens others to do the work of the Lord. If we are remembered and thanked for what we have done, that is merely a bonus. We should not be working for the remembrance or the thanks. We should be working so that those we encounter may come to a deeper relationship with the Lord.
That is our reward. Not the fact that we have garnered fame or fortune; but, that the people whose lives we have touched are now that much closer to God. If they forget us, there is no problem with that at all. As long as they do not forget what has been taught to them and as long as they can continue to live faith-filled lives.
FAITH ACTION: Be the kind of person today who can inspire those around you to excel.