Grace in Leadership
“He’s just a kid.”
Those words showed me the heart of my son. A soldier. A leader. A man on a mission. A man filled with God’s grace and mercy.
He faced challenges with another soldier. Someone from another unit, but assigned to him. This younger man, inexperienced and away from home for the first time, gave my son one issue after another.
When we talked, my son told me, “Mama, he’s just a kid. He doesn’t know any better. He looks up to me as his big brother and I’ve got to help him.”
I was floored. When my son enlisted, he was quiet and conservative and not the most patient person. But he has been growing and changing, developing into a man of strength, integrity, and character. A man who brings us pride when we think of his growth and accomplishments.
But, this younger man was his exact opposite. And even though he irritated my son and tried my son’s patience, my son accepted the responsibility without complaint or hesitation.
My son answered to the other man’s superiors and made sure appointments and duties were kept. He offered advice when asked and support at all times.
He told me, “This kid looks up to me. I have to keep living in a way that inspires him to be better. I want to be squared away at all times and if God put him in my life right now, then I have something to learn and something to teach.”
I got off the phone and asked myself, “Was that my son?”
Later that night, as I prayed for my son, I rehashed our conversation.
I felt the prompting of God, telling me there was an important lesson in my son’s situation – for me.
I was amazed at how easily my son accepted the difficulties of the younger man, going above and beyond what was required of him. How his work with the younger man caused his officers to notice. They told my son, “I can always count on you. Love, you are our go to guy.”
My son took it in stride and got up each day and took whatever came his way with confidence in his training and his faith in God.
I can’t say that I do the same. It’s easy for me to get frustrated or impatient. Sometimes, because of my health challenges, I shy away from interactions with difficult people. I don’t make the effort to mentor others or allow them to get too close. Part of it is fear and the other part comes because of the rejection and judgement I’ve experienced when someone doesn’t understand my limits.
But my son’s situation exposed my error and my tendencies to avoid conflict. I usually give in to my first instinct, which is to try to fix things in my own power, when I really need to rely on God’s power to get me through whatever comes my way.
We often tell our son that he is our hero. He has a hard job just being a soldier. But his willingness to mentor another person with no thought of recognition or compensation, shows that he is following the example of Jesus. He is upholding his fellow man while trusting God to give him the strength and energy and wisdom to accomplish his duties.
Yes, it is awesome to witness, but it is also uncomfortable because it makes me examine my heart and see the areas of darkness in my heart that need God’s touch.
I desire to be steadfast, to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ (II Peter 3:14-18). Only God can give me the grace I need to let down my guards, face trying situations, or work through difficult relationships He brings into my life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the humility and grace of the younger generation. Thank you for their example to us and for their willingness to face trials with wisdom. Bless these men and women as they grow into the people who will shape the world for Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.