- This is part of a series on the theme of commitment. -
What does commitment look like in a leader, and how can we practice it? Jesus reveals his standard of deeper commitment in Matthew’s Gospel:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, but they still call us to action today. Through these living words, Jesus makes it clear that he requires total commitment of his followers. He said that unless one commits everything, one loses everything. For the Christian leader, that commitment must remain strong until the end of our earthly walk. Inspirational and motivational speaker Og Mandino expands on the necessity of strong, long-term commitment.
One of Mandino’s 10 common causes of failure is “quitting too soon.” Mandino tells the story of Raphael Solano and his companions, who were looking for diamonds in a dry river bed in Venezuela. Discouraged, and facing the thought of returning home to his very poor family empty-handed, Solano claimed he had picked up about 999,999 rocks and was quitting. His companions said, “Pick up one more and make it a million.” That “millionth” rock was the 155-carat “Liberator,” the largest and purest diamond ever found. Mandino writes,
I think he [Solano] must have known a happiness that went beyond the financial. He had set his course; the odds were against him; he had persevered; he had won. He had not only done what he had set out to do – which is a reward in itself – but he had done it in the face of failure and obscurity.
Jesus urged his followers, “Take up your cross and follow me.” He knew better than anyone else how elusive the great prize is. But he also knew that anything less than a total commitment to achieving the prize would not suffice. In the Christian life, as in the leader’s organizational life, total commitment to the cause facilitates success.