The Essence of Leadership is Faith, Hope and Love
The Essence of Leadership is Faith, Hope and Love
We can only hope! This was the message delivered by many newscasters in the final broadcasts of the year. It is a new year and most of us couldn’t be happier that 2020 is in our rearview mirror. It was a long and tiring year. We’re tired of viruses, masking, social distancing, and maybe a little tired of each other because of quarantines. It isn’t that we don’t love each other or don’t enjoy being together; we’re just tired. I think we passed tired a few months back, now we’re fatigued. While not a clinical definition, fatigue simply means that we are tired of being tired. Fatigue drains us spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It causes us to look for anything to boost our spirit; in 2021 we mainly look for hope.
Isn’t it curious that in our most difficult times, we still cling to hope? We hope new vaccines will allow us to unmask, return to work, go to the gym, out for dinner or a movie; and we especially hope to hug each other again. Yes, we’re tired; now, we just want to get our “normal” back. So, we look for leadership, try to keep the faith and do what we are asked by health experts, often failing, and continue to hope for deliverance.
Leadership drives everything, good or bad, that happens; hope, faith, and love, are its essential pillars. Leaders are responsible for ensuring that hope, faith, and love flourish in our environments (work, family, etc.). It is humbling to recognize that leadership is delivered, not by charismatic or bombastic personalities, but through hope, faith, and love. “Hope is the earnest anticipation that comes with believing something good. Hope is a confident expectation that naturally stems from faith. Hope is a peaceful assurance that something that hasn’t happened yet will indeed happen.” Hope isn’t a pillar standing by itself; it stands next to faith. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) says:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hope and faith are more than the fuel pushing us through difficult and dark times; they’re the candles that guide our path. Hope isn’t wishful thinking; it demands dedication, and faith requires action. Hope and faith require we invest, and surrender, a part of ourselves to God in prayer. Terence Cooke, Archbishop of New York, until his death in 1984, said:
“Without prayer, our faith is weakened, our love grows cold, our hope becomes uncertain.”
Love is the string that bind hope and faith. Remember, “a three-cord strand is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV). The final and most important of these leadership virtues is love (1 Corinthians 13:13, TLB). The virtues of faith, hope, and love often used in wedding vows, really describe God’s love for us. These three virtues are expressed in no better place than in John 3:16 (NLV):
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever.”
The importance of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13) don’t just underpin all Christian teachings; they are foundational to virtually all leadership philosophies taught and practiced today. Yet isn’t it ironic that even in societies that stress secularity, virtually all leadership teaching comes from, and is based, on the Bible? Management and leadership philosophies such as “Servant Leadership,” “Values-Based Leadership,” and “Authentic Leadership” are based on the Biblical virtues of faith, hope, and love. John Maxwell, considered the No. 1 leadership and management expert in the world (Inc. Magazine), sums it up in 21 Laws of Leadership in the Bible (2018):
"Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned from the Bible. Not only is the Bible the greatest book ever written; it is the greatest leadership book ever written. Everything you could ever want to learn about leadership— vision, purpose, thinking strategy, communication, attitude, encouragement, mentoring, follow-through—is all there.”
ChangingMind.org credits Pope Gregory (590-604 AD) with developing a counter balancing set of values referred to as the “Spiritual” and “Cardinal” virtues. These virtues consist of:
- Faith believing in the right things.
- Hope taking the positive future view, that good will prevail.
- Charity, commonly used to denote “love” (as in agape), is concern for, and active helping of, others.
- Fortitude is never giving up.
- Justice is about being fair and equitable with others.
- Prudence is care of and moderation with money.
- Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things which
are not needed.
Sound familiar? You may not find these terms in leadership books or manuals, but I guarantee you’ll find their synonyms, terms like vision, confidence, resilience, equality, sound judgment, and self-discipline. You don’t need a manifesto or manuscript; John 3:16 consists of only 30 words (cited above). All you really need to lead is a heart motivated to serve others (love), consistently model the behaviors you want and expect (faith), and a reason for others to follow (hope).
As a small business owner, featured on Good Morning America, asked for help. She reported record sales within 24 hours, keeping her in business and her employees working. When asked about her turn-around she merely said:
“A beautiful thing happens when people help people; it’s called hope.“
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