Posted by: everynation | November 25, 2008

Strength & Honor

mike-watkinsby Mike Watkins

As the soldier-general, farmer Maximus Decimus Marilius, prepares for battle in the epic movie Gladiator he walks among his troops looking them in the eye and says, “Strength and honor!” In this tense moment he is communicating that he is one of them, and they have the same value as he.

Honor begins with words and is culminated in deed as the leader states and shows his appreciation for those whom he is leading. This principle is seen in the military, in business and in everyday leadership situations.

Unfortunately, some leaders create an environment where they believe that those whom they lead exist to honor the leader. The result of this is a loss of confidence among the team, a lack of spirit in what they do and a frustration with not being fulfilled in their field of work.

However, leaders who honor their team find that it strengthens the team not only to excel but to at times achieve greatness amid trying circumstances. One of the greatest ways that honor produces strength is when it places a value on the person that the person did not think possible. Jesus did this when He told His disciples that they would do greater things than He when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and today we can see the same result when a seasoned leader looks in the eye of a young person and says, “I am convinced that you can surpass me, and I want to invest in your life to see it happen.”

Maximus came from a common background which meant that he was not born with his abilities. They had to be developed. Leaders who had to learn how to lead are usually better at encouraging young leaders. I know that I have had times of utter discouragement as a missionary when I felt invisible and insignificant, but in the midst of that feeling several leaders whom I greatly respected singled me out – they often did this in a public setting – and they bestowed great honor upon me for what I was doing. At this moment I felt like adrenaline was pumped in my soul, and I could then run another hundred miles or take any country. We can’t live on moments such as these, but we do need such moments to set our compass straight and show us the value and abilities that we really do have in God’s eyes.

In the movie, The Kingdom of Heaven, Orlando Bloom’s character is a knight from simple beginnings. When the battle was on the edge of disaster he was told by a religious man that the battle could not be won without knights, but all the knights had perished. At this he turned and knighted all the slaves and knaves who were at his side much to the dismay of the religious man. Can knighting a man make him fight better? You try it. Honor someone, and see if it makes a difference.

Mike Watkins is a missionary, a fisher of men and the author of the blog “Simple Truths.”

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