Today, I was on an airplane coming home from a conference. I was happy because I had an emergency exit row seat and the aisle. The emergency exit row meant that I had lots of legroom for my tall stature. The plane was almost finished boarding and the row in front of me was completely empty. I waited a few minutes to make sure that no one else was coming on to the plane. Then I decided to move from my seat to the empty row to have more room. I was trying to take advantage of the empty seats to have a more comfortable flight. After I moved, an individual boarded the plan and ended up taking my emergency exit row seat. I thought, okay, he’s in my seat, but I have a row to myself. As the door to the plane was about to close, one last individual boarded. Sure enough, his assigned seat was the seat I was in
Now I was in a quandary. Do I go back to my emergency exit row seat and kick the guy out who sat there? Or do I suck it up and sit along the window, crowded, with no legroom? I had to admit that it was my selfishness that caused this whole ordeal. So instead of going back to my original seat, which I had the right to do, I had decided to live with the consequences of my selfish actions. Window seat with no legroom.
I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and look up to God and say, “You got me!” I felt busted by God. I had a very good comfortable seat, but I decided to get a little selfish and see if I could get more room. I paid the price for that. I deserved it.
This experience translated so clearly to my role as a leader in ministry. In a nutshell, the lesson I learned (again!) was that being a servant leader and serving others always pays bigger dividends versus being selfish and serving myself.
On the plane ride today, I practiced selfish leadership instead of servant leadership. In the end, I got the short end of the stick because I put myself before others. That is not what Christ did in his leadership. Neither should I.