Tim Throckmorton: The core of being a good leader and influencer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 3, 2023

My friend George Barna once said, “Leadership is the ability to put the plans into practice, and to accomplish the specified objectives through the skillful management of people, time, and tangible resources. A good leader is one who can motivate people; one who is capable of making good decisions, even under pressure or in conditions of uncertainty; one who can guide people through actions as well as words.” 

Leadership matters now more than ever, not just in Washington, D.C. or Wall Street, but in the home and in the church.

 Think for just a minute with me about our influence on those we meet.

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Biblically-speaking influence centers on Knowing and doing right … is to be instructed to others. Teach: (lawmad) goad; diligently instruct After giving the law to Moses and having him instruct the people on how to live according to God’s Word … came the instruction … “and you shall teach.”

 It means to Diligently seek out … Deut. 13:4 “ye shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. It means to Diligently keep … Deut. 6:17 “ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.”

It means to Diligently teach … Deut. 6:7 “and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thy riseth up.” 

Perhaps the greatest form of teaching I think is by example. Listen to 1 Corinthians 4:16 “Wherefore I beseech ye, be followers of me” May we be known as a person who thoughtfully teaches God’s Word by example with every avenue that is made available to us.

 It’s true that people will readily follow almost any example. Two men who worked for the gas company in New York City were reading the gas meters in the alley ways of the buildings. The younger of the two had been boasting about his ability to outrun his older co-worker, who was now in his early 40s. 

Accepting the challenge, he decided they should race back to the truck, which was parked at the other end of the block. Both men broke into a all-out sprint down the long alley. While running neck-and-neck, the two men heard someone running right on their heels and breathing very hard. 

When they looked around, they were astonished to see a 75-year-old woman keeping up with them. They immediately stopped and asked if she was all right and why she was running after them. She replied, “Well, while looking out my kitchen window I saw you two men reading my gas meter, then suddenly begin sprinting to the other end of the alley. I figured I had better give it all I’ve got to get out of here too!”

 Helen Howarth Lemmel was born in England in 1863, into the home of a Wesleyan minister who immigrated to America when Helen was a child. She loved music, and her parents provided the best vocal teachers they could find. 

Eventually, Helen returned to Europe to study vocal music in Germany. In time, she married a wealthy European, but he left her when she became blind, and Helen struggled with multiple heartaches during midlife. 

At age 55, Helen hears a statement that deeply impressed her: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things on earth will acquire a strange new dimness.” “I stood still,” Helen later said, “And singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme or note to note to make melody. The verses were written in the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but nonetheless dictated by the Holy Spirit.”

 Helen died in Seattle in 1961, 13 days before her 98th birthday. Here are the words of this great hymn. “O soul, are you weary and troubled? 

No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! Thro’ death into life everlasting, He passed, and we follow Him there; Over us sin no more hath dominion, For more than conqu’rors we are!

His word shall not fail you He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well; Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

 We are all leaders in some capacity. Others look at our lives and see what’s important to us. 

They see what we follow, what we love and what is important to us. And just maybe, they will decide to follow our example. I’m convinced that eyes turned upon Jesus not only see clearly in life but confidently in death. And because of that others see Jesus too!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.