3.29.2009

Strive for Five, Seeking True Glory


Apparently, the SI cover jinx can apply to business CEOs, too. This paper suggests that CEOs tend to underperform after winning some acclaim in the business press. [Thanks to Paul Krugman's blog for the link.]

Contrast this with the quiet humility (albeit mixed with a fierce competitiveness, a steely resolve, and a determined confidence) demonstrated with what management guru Jim Collins calls "Level 5 leaders." Check out Collins' definition: "Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It's not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious - but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves."

Not a bad credo for today's Christian. Power and fame can easily corrupt. Better for our souls and for our missions that we instead humble ourselves that He may be exalted.

It is the sentiment Jesus seems to be suggesting when he tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14): "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Not: "It's bad to want to be exalted." Rather: "We were made to be exalted by subsuming ourselves into something and Someone far greater and far more worthy of exultation."

We are all glory seekers. Tragically, too many of us too much of the time settle for the finite glory of ourselves and of own accomplishments. Not to demean ourselves or our accomplishments; there is something glorious in them.

But would that we sign on for a cause and a Creator far more glorious. Would that we emulate Collins' Level 5 leaders and channel ourselves, our abilities, and our ambitions towards the greater goal of building an eternal and heavenly and glorious Kingdom, with and for our King. May we be found humbling ourselves and redirecting our ambition, that He may be exalted, and we with Him.
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