The Key Decision For Influential Men

Influence like JesusNo matter how you look at it, being a Dad is hard work! Men have this constant balancing act between being tough and being tender. Guys have to have their game face on at work, and their family face on at home. They’ve got to work hard knocking down work competitors, and then work just as hard building up their family members.

But there is one key decision that will determine how successful a man will be at work, at home, in his social circles, and even in his relationship with God. 

In Acts 10 we meet a centurion named Cornelius. Centurions were professional military officers in charge of a centuria (usually 100 soldiers). Centurions were always “on the clock,” never letting down their guard nor their professionalism.

All of the centurions mentioned in the New Testament have noble characteristics associated with them. Whereas someone might be uncertain how a typical Roman soldier would behave, people felt more assured when the centurion was on the scene. Even Roman governors like Pilate, and Jewish kings like Herod, all seemed to fully trust the judgement, honesty, and resourcefulness of centurions.

Centurions worked hard to get where they were, and had some well-earned perks:

  • Good pay (one built a temple, Luke 7:1-5).
  • “Men of authority” with soldiers and servants reporting to them (Matthew 8:8-9).
  • Opportunity for advancement (Rome was the dominate world force).
  • A certain degree of autonomy (they had their own residences (Matthew 8; Acts 10).

In order to keep this position, they would have to buy into kurios Caesar (Caesar is lord). To do otherwise was to put their position and future advancement at risk.

Yet Cornelius was different. 

He was a trusted centurion, but something unusual stood out about his life. Luke the historian describes him as devout and God-fearing, mentioning his pious activities of prayer and giving to the poor. Cornelius’ own soldiers referred to him as righteous and respected by notable people in the community.

But probably most telling of all: God noticed how committed Cornelius was (see Acts 10:3-4)!

Cornelius had a lot to lose by rejecting kurios Caesar for, as the Christians said, kurios Iesous (Jesus is Lord). Yet after carefully weighing his options, he saw that trusting God was the best thing he could do for his family. His view of the eternal outweighed anything that he could gain in the temporal.

This one decision changed everything! 

Because Cornelius trusted God, look at the expansiveness of his influence, not only at home, but at work, and among his friends and extended family, and throughout his community:

  • His family—ALL his family were devout and God-fearing (v. 2)
  • His employees—a devout soldier (v. 7)
  • His community—respected by ALL the Jewish people (v. 22)
  • His relatives and friends—his relatives and close friends (v. 24)
  • In fact everyone around him—we are ALL here in the presence of God (v. 33)
  • And most importantly, with God—your prayers and gifts have come up as a memorial offering before God (v. 4)

Fellas, you can have this same level of influence if you, too, will decide to live karios Iesous: Jesus is Lord. If you will do that, you can have said about your life what was said about Cornelius and Jesus: “God anointed ___________ with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him!” (see Acts 10:38).

10 Quotes From John Maxwell In “JumpStart Your Leadership”

JumpStart Your LeadershipI always love John Maxwell’s insights into leadership. JumpStart Your Leadership is a great learning book for leaders at any level. You can read my book review by clicking here. Below are a few quotes from John Maxwell that I especially appreciated.

“Too often people associate leadership advancement with their career path. That’s the wrong paradigm. What you should be thinking about is your own leadership development! The sign of good leadership isn’t personal advancement. It’s the advancement of your team. When others succeed and your team gets better, it’s a sign that your leadership is improving.

“Good leadership begins with leaders knowing who they are. Successful leaders know their own strengths and weaknesses. They understand their temperament. They know what personal experiences serve them well. As a result, they have developed successful work habits and understand their daily, monthly, and seasonal rhythms. They have a sense of where they are going and how they want to get there. They don’t pretend to be something they’re not. Instead they admit their shortcomings and harness their strengths. As a result, they know what they’re capable of doing, and their leadership is strong.”

“Success demands more than most people are willing to offer, but not more than they are capable of giving. The thing that often makes the difference is good leadership.”

“Let a vision for making a difference in the lives of the people you lead lift you and your people above the confines of job descriptions and petty rules.”

“The path to leadership growth requires that one stops trying to impress others to maintain their position and starts developing trust to maintain their relationships.”

“Good leaders understand that the heart of leadership is dealing with people and working with the good, the bad, and the ugly in everyone. They are able to look at hard truths, see people’s flaws, face reality, and do it in a spirit of grace and truth. They don’t avoid problems; they solve them. Leaders who build relationships understand that conflict is a part of progress.”

“Knowing what to do isn’t enough to make someone a good leader. Just because something is right doesn’t necessarily mean that people will let you do it. Good leaders take that into account, then they think and plan accordingly. And to accomplish this, you must exhibit a consistent mood, maintain an optimistic attitude, possess a listening ear, and present to others your authentic self.”

“What makes a family great isn’t what makes a team great. Families value community over contribution. Businesses value contribution over community. The best teams strike a balance.”

“Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships. Candor without care creates distant relationships. But care balanced with candor creates developing relationships.”

“People are any organization’s most appreciable asset. Good leaders invest their time, energy, money, and thinking into growing others as leaders. They look at every person and try to gauge his or her potential for growth and lead—regardless of the individual’s title, position, age, or experience.”

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