Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to Be The Best Leader

The Lord points out in John 13:1-17 that even though He was sent by God, and even though He was their leader and their Lord, He spent His life in service to them and others. He is our King, we worship Him and love Him, but the reason we do these things is not just that He was chosen by our Heavenly Father. It is because He chose to serve us instead of just sitting on His royal throne. He could have struck His accusers down with lightning and a flaming sword. Instead He humbly withstood beatings and cruelty. He died for us on the cross after bleeding from every pour in the garden of Gethsemane. His washing of his apostles feet was nothing compared to these things, but the Lord used it to point out that as a leader, He had been serving everyone His whole life.

Are we serving those we have been called to lead, or are we making them serve us?

In Luke 22:26-30 the apostles are trying to figure out which of them is greater than the rest. The Lord gently points out that being the greatest really isn't the point. The greatest leaders are those that serve the people they lead, not those that sat on their jeweled throne and appointed orders.  In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints our leaders are not paid. Our Bishops do not take home a pretty pay check for their service to their wards. Instead they give up hours of their lives to serve their ward members. They are on call for those who need extra assistance and often are called away from their own families to serve other families. This is ultimate leadership. We follow our church leaders because they are selfless.

Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson is the perfect example of a devoted leader. He is giving his life to the people of our church. He lovingly guides us and suggests ways that we can return to our Father in Heaven. He does not order us to do these things. He is not a dictator. He practices what he preaches. He is the example we should follow.

In Mark 10:43-45 I think it is saying that we are not chosen to be leaders (in the church) unless we are humble enough to serve in a position of power. Being a leader is not about lining up our followers and barking out orders; it’s about being humble and seeking to serve those who follow us. It’s a paradox. Serving others makes us greater in the eyes of the Lord, when He sees selfless service He will give us leadership positions. We don’t get this power by seeking for it, in fact, when we seek for this power we will lose it.

Leaders in the LDS church follow these principles. If they don’t they are not leaders for long. The people who hold the “big” callings, or those that are the biggest leader type positions, are those that serve the most and the hardest. Our Relief Society President sacrifices hours and hours to bless the sisters in our ward. She genuinely can say that she loves us all because she actually does. She devotes her life as the Relief Society President to finding the best way she can serve us individually and as a whole. She stays awake at night trying to think of how she can help the individual sisters in our ward as well as the whole group of sisters. She loses sleep over us! She weeps when we are lost, she prays for ways to bring us back. This is real leadership. LOVE those you are in charge of. Serve them, don’t expect them to serve you blindly. The things we are asked to do by our leaders are things that will benefit the ward as a whole, or individuals of the ward, and they are things that will make us better for following them.

So, what is a real leader? Someone who in their place of power seeks to serve instead of appoint. Lead through service. Be the example.

How can we become better leaders?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preparing for the Savior's Second Coming

Mark chapter 13 tells us of things that we should watch for to know when Jesus will come. Although none of us know the hour, we can gauge His closeness by the signs of the times. In Mark we find the words "take heed" and "watch" quite frequently.  Here are some of the things that we should watch for:

·         people trying to deceive you that Christ is already here
·         people trying to persecute you for following Christ
·         the signs of the times
·         False Christ’s
·         Wars and rumors of wars
·         Earthquakes
·         Famines
·         Gospel taken everywhere
·         Families turning on each other
·         False prophets

Some additional scriptures and insights they hold:

D&C 87:8 – We need to stand apart from Babylon, resisting temptation until the Lord comes.
JST-Matt 1:32 – Terrible things will happen before the Lord returns.
JST-Matt 1:37 – We need to build our testimonies and hold them as sacred so that we may be gathered up in the last days to dwell with our Savior and Father in Heaven.
JST-Matt 1:46-50 – Nobody knows when the Lord will return. He will come when unsuspected.
D&C 33:17 – We should be ready for the Lord when he comes. The time to prepare is now, not when he gets here.
D&C 45:56-57 – We will be saved in the last day if we are faithfully prepared.