The Journey to Obedience

I commented the other day about the move from success to significance to obedience and how there aren’t many leadership books on “obedience.”

While that is true, and it’s probably true because generally we only want to read about “successful” people, I think there are some great examples.

The problem is obedience has such a high cost, we have examples we can read, but we don’t call them “leadership” books. Also, we read them and often say, “What a great example,” and leave it at that. We don’t actually want to go DO what those folks DID!

Some great examples:

Henri Nouwen. His incredible obedience to leave high profile academic positions to take care of mentally disabled adults is a powerful story. Nouwen’s writings are considered “contemplative,” not “leadership,” but there isn’t a better “leadership” book than In the Name of Jesus. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Many Christians have read The Cost of Discipleship, but we aren’t so ready to face the issues of our day like Bonhoeffer faced in his day. He died for his cause.

Adoniram Judson. Missionary to Burna. Lost his wife and many of his kids to disease on the mission field.

Calvin Olson. Never wrote a book. Pioneered churches in one of the hardest Muslim areas of the world.

Come to think of it, maybe we don’t have as many “leadership” books on obedience because so many people just go OBEY. Maybe they write later. Maybe they are written about later.

The place of obedience just isn’t our highest priority at times. Yet, that is where you find the presence of God.

Henri Nouwen

4 thoughts on “The Journey to Obedience

  1. Great point. In researching the subject of submission there are three ingredients: Humility, Obedience, and Love. Is it surprising that submission oesn’t get covered in books on leadership either?

  2. What is leadership, if not leading by example? Those who live the kind of life Christ requires are our greatest examples to follow. Maybe we don’t need the books, but the leaders to follow.

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