An Overnight Success

An Overnight Success

Becoming A Great Leader Overnight

When you consider your leadership, do you think of it as a vocation, a science, a skill anyone can
acquire or as something that some just happen to be gifted to do, and others without that special
gifting have no hope of attaining?

Neither picture is truly accurate. It is like being a theologian. One way or another, everyone’s a
theologian. The atheist contends there is no god and hence establishes his theology. Another
person contends one cannot know if there is a god and owns the consequences of his theology.
The observant person recognizes the existence of a god or gods and searches for truth until God
reveals himself. That person would likely contend the prevailing grace of God has created in
every human a hunger to know him and hence their understanding of God’s revelation is truly a
work of God in itself. (John 12:32; Romans 5:8; John 6:44; Song of Solomon 1:4; Hosea 11:4;
Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 5:9)

However, while in one sense everyone is a theologian and everyone is a leader, there are
rudiments that can enhance or deteriorate one’s theology or leadership. A lack of embracing the
knowable God ends in deterioration, and the sharing of relationship with the revealed will of God
in Jesus himself and the revealed and recorded Word of God called the Bible coupled with a
sound hermeneutic and solid epistemology usually in association with a leading disciple of Jesus
Christ, a teacher if you will, grows ones theology exponentially, enhancing it to heights
heretofore unimaginable to that person. That model more clearly represents a person and their
leadership. Leadership is as much an art form as it is a science. But leadership is never all it can
be without both.

Being a successful leader is somewhat like the career of a performing artist. Many may never
reach the top 40, but those out of the top 40 have influenced their thousands and often tens of
thousands or even millions of people over a lifetime of work. Also, while it appears a
performing artist becomes a top 40 performer overnight, it is usually preceded by years of
preparation and performance. Even Moses, the second greatest leader to ever live, took 40 years
in the limelight and 40 years in incubation to become a truly great leader. Picture yourself as
Moses being prepared by God for service. It will help you to not become frustrated in your

“Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody; forty years learning he was nobody; and
forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.”
— D.L. Moody

These thoughts are being shared with you because your leadership is important to God, to you,
and to me. Your leadership should soar with heavenly aspirations and Divine blessing. A child
of God is a royal descendant of the King. Regardless of that descendant’s present circumstances,
royal life flows inside that person. Realize your heavenly calling and live out its reality. (1 Peter

In preparation for expounding on Being An Overnight Success As A Leader The Apostle James’
comments on faith will lay a solid foundation, noting particularly verse 3.

James 1:1-27, NIV
1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among
the nations: Greetings.
2. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3. because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking
5. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding
fault, and it will be given to you.
6. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave
of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
8. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.
10. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation–since they will pass away like a wild
11. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is
destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will
receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13. When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by
evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
14. but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
15. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives
birth to death.
16. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
17. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly
lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
18. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of
all he created.
19. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to
speak and slow to become angry,
20. because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
21. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the
word planted in you, which can save you.
22. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at
his face in a mirror
24. and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
25. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not
forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.
26. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues
deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

27. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and
widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Now, of a certainty, the focus of the Apostle James’ writing is upon faith and an enduring
spiritual maturity that results in a lifelong Focus On Jesus And Following His Plan. That last
phrase is chosen because the theme for 2020 and beyond of the General Conference Church of
God (Seventh Day) is Focus On Jesus and Follow His Plan. This is a worthy simple statement to
serve as a reference point for all disciples of Jesus Christ to use as a compass for their belief and

The point of the Apostle James’ text is intended to be preserved and applied to your leadership.
Without trials, difficult circumstances, tribulations and all those seemingly negative things that
would seem to inhibit your leadership from outside influences, your leadership will never be
strong enough to support a great structure of disciples.

You, friend, have been called to be a leader of many disciples. Everyone has, but few achieve it.
If you persevere, you will achieve success. It is that simple and that complex. Leadership is
simple, but it isn’t simplistic. Leadership is also complex, but it isn’t complicated. Leadership
involves people, management, decisions, time, material, spiritual, and emotional resources, and
above all it requires love, love of God and people.

The title hints at a possible story of An Overnight Success. The story is old and perhaps you
have heard some version of it, since every preacher that has ever lived has enjoyed telling this
story. It is a beautiful parable and the variations on it are endless. But it bears repeating in
application of James 1:3 and its directed application to leadership. Hence, the version shared
herein is adapted for leadership.

The Farmer and His Mule:

There was a farmer who establishing a farm in frontier days. As he claimed his land and set
about to work it, he discovered there was a sinkhole in his land, a deep pit that just dropped the
ground to a depth of about ten or twelve feet. He thought little of it, except that someday he
would fill it for safety’s sake. He took his mule and set about plowing his fields, seeding,
cultivating, and harvesting. His success was phenomenal, so much so he had to hire workers to
bring their mules and help him expand his operations. But tragedy struck one day. His faithful
mule he had used the last 3 years could not be found. He did not come to work when he was

So, the farmer searched for his mule. He found him quickly because of his continual braying.
During the night, the mule had fallen into the sinkhole. He called his friends and try as they
might, they could not retrieve the old mule from the pit. The pain and braying by the old mule
were just too much for the farmer to bear. So, as dark drew on, he decided the right thing to do
was to not allow the mule to suffer anymore and to simply bury him there. So, he and his friends
retrieved their shovels and set to work. The moonless and heavily clouded night seemed to be a
mirror of their emotional state at the duty which lay before them.

They worked diligently, shovel after shovel, throwing dirt onto the poor mule below until the hole was filled and they returned to their homes to mourn the poor farmers loss. That is, all except the distraught farmer who loved
his mule and thought he would just sit by his lost friend’s grave until the morning. As the first
light of dawn brightened the sky, the sleeping farmer heard a snort. To his bewilderment, there
stood his faithful mule waiting to go to work and snorting to the farmer about the time. Of
course, as each shovel of dirt was thrown on the back of the old mule, he shook it off and stood
on the dirt that had fallen on him. Ultimately, the old mule was free to leave, but he stood his
ground waiting to do the farmer’s bidding.

Leadership is like the mule of this story, how the leader handle’s adversity determines the
leader’s success. Assuming defeat will get the leader buried alive. Understanding one must
move past each difficulty leads the leader to success in leadership. The Leader truly is an
overnight success.

The principles of leadership herein shared are sometimes referred to as “failing forward”,
“falling upward”, or simply steadfastness. The object of the lesson is to learn that failing does
not a failure make, nor does a loss mean defeat. That is true if the leader learns something and
survives with the scars as testimonies of the trials in battle. A warrior without scars has not seen
many battles and hence, that warrior’s endurance has not been adequately tested. A strong
positive character of love, honesty, integrity, ethical, moral, and the like, makes incidental
failures unlikely to be life threatening to one’s leadership.

Be strong and courageous in Jesus Christ, Leader, as you serve the LEADER, the King in whose
service you have been called. Oh, yes. “Count it all joy when you fall into the pits of many

The King and I will rejoice over the success of your leadership.

Chip Hinds

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