Friday, February 3, 2012

The Seminar Leader and the Restroom

 Have you ever been in a room with a group of people when one of them was “a leader?” I mean the High D, Type A personality kind of leader. The take-charge person, the man or woman who projects confidence, works the room, turns on the charm, captivates the imagination, and gathers the troops.

It probably sounds like I’m going to bash this sort of person, and that’s not really my aim.  But since my intent is to “admire Christ,” what do you think Jesus would be like in a group? I mean, would He be the “leader type” I just sketched?

Would Christ project confidence, work the room, turn on the charm, captivate the imagination, and gather the troops?

Years ago I attended a seminar to help pastors learn from business leaders. The speaker was the new CEO of a large company, and he was exactly the sort of leader I’m talking about.  

He was quite an impressive guy. Not much older that I was at the time (early 30’s), he was tall, handsome, an up-and-coming star in the business community. His suit probably cost more than I made in several months. He had lots of productivity and leadership tips for us.

I was a young pastor planting a church, and I confess to experiencing a bit of envy as I sat there, taking notes.

During a break I headed for the restroom. I noticed that our speaker was also making a rest stop.
A couple minutes later, as I stood in front of the mirror washing my hands, he emerged from one of the stalls. I thought maybe I could engage him in conversation, or get his autograph, or at least shake his hand.

He glanced at me, straightened his expensive tie, and walked out of the restroom. Without washing his hands. You heard me. The great leader helping us poor bumbling pastors improve our organizational skills used the potty and didn’t wash up afterwards. I changed my mind on the hand shake idea.

I suppose that fact shouldn’t have undermined his credibility to me. But it did somehow.

That was a lot of years ago. I’ve scaled back my expectations of leaders since then. And I know I can learn from all sorts of people, whether they wash their hands or not. Someone’s imperfections don’t necessarily negate the lessons they have to teach us. Because ultimately all of us fall short. All of us will disappoint, fail to meet expectations, and look like hypocrites sometimes.

Except for Jesus. If you were in a seminar with Him, He wouldn’t be trying to impress anyone. And if you followed Him around and watched His every move, you’d be awestruck by His perfections - His authenticity, wisdom, humor, integrity, intelligence, kindness, love, purity, tranquility, and patience. You would conclude that He’s the best person you ever met. You wouldn’t experience envy or skepticism. More likely, adoration. You’d never want the day to end. You’d want to spend the rest of your life as close to Him as you could possibly get.