"If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me" - 1 Corinthians 9:17.
When you replace 'preach' with 'lead' in today's verse provides a new perspective on leadership. The age-old question of whether leaders are born or made is changed to whether or not leaders are called to lead. When leaders lead, they are fulfilling a mandate or assignment from the Lord, regardless of whether they head a Fortune 500 company or their garden club. In the context of this verse, leadership is its own reward—the knowledge of being used by God for a unique role and purpose. If nothing else, leadership is fulfilling an opportunity God assigns and provides the leader to fulfill and complete. Thus, leaders do not lead for what they can get - although there are rewards—but for what God has called and singled them out to do.
LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you leading voluntarily? Do you see your leadership role as a duty or a calling—or both? Today's Step is to examine your attitude toward your leadership, whether you are leading now or preparing to lead in the future. Are you protecting yourself from hurt or criticism by 'laying low' or are you actively engaging opportunities to lead? Do you see that when you lead others, you serve the Lord regardless of how well or poorly they receive or treat you when you lead?