BOOK REVIEW | From Weakness to Strength: 8 Vulnerabilities That Can Bring Out the Best in Your Leadership

It is God’s kindness that leads us to repent, not our repentance that leads God to be kind. That is, he causes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust. He places no conditions on, and erects no borders for, his kindness. Neither should we.“-Scott Sauls, From Weakness to Strength

If Scott Sauls writes a book, I am always going to read it. Most recently I really enjoyed A Gentle Answer that I blogged about here, Irresistible Faith which I reviewed here, and befriend which I posted about here. From Weakness to Strength is a great reminder that strong leadership doesn’t mean acting like a bull in a china shop. Sustaining servant leadership starts with humbling ourselves and leading with an understanding of our limp. I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • In America, credentials qualify a person to lead. In Jesus, the chief qualification is character. In America, what matters most are the results we produce. In Jesus, what matters most is the kind of people we are becoming. Location: 153               
  • Lesson #1—Our Failures and Disappointments Reveal the State of Our Souls My circumstance-triggered meltdown was at least in part because of idols of success, fame, and making a name for myself that had long been residing in my heart.  Location: 267             
  • We are famous in God’s eyes through Jesus … and that should be enough. Location: 281               
  • Lesson #2—Our Successes and Achievements Are Poor Jesus Substitutes If you find your happiness in yourself and your own achievements, you’re bound to be disappointed. Consider how often you’ve let yourself down, for one thing. For another—well, C. S. Lewis was onto something when he said: Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither. Location: 310               
  • There is potential in every leader, even the most virtuous ones, to become caught in unimaginable transgression. Location: 400               
  • Father in heaven, Always grant me character that is greater than my gifts and humility that is greater than my influence. Amen. Location: 559               
  • Our character must matter more to us than our reputation. We must learn to love the light, even when it exposes the darkness in us, instead of running and hiding from the light. Location: 672         
  • Saint Augustine have underscored as well: Our hearts are going to be insecure until they find their security in God. Our hearts are going to be restless until they find their rest in him. Location: 1,076   
  • Opposition is our opportunity not only to show the world a different kind of friend but also to show the world a different kind of enemy: You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43–45) Location: 1,467               
  • It is God’s kindness that leads us to repent, not our repentance that leads God to be kind. That is, he causes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust. He places no conditions on, and erects no borders for, his kindness. Neither should we. Location: 1,599           
  • To experience sickness, sorrow, pain, or death here is to also taste the love of God as expressed through people who are tethered to Jesus, the Servant who suffered.  Location: 1,657             
  • When Christ Presbyterian Academy Headmaster Nate Morrow asked Ben Ellis if there was a message he wanted relayed to the students worshipping God on his front lawn outside his bedroom window, Ellis’s response was, “Tell them that it’s all true.” Tell them. It’s all true. That’s leadership. To stare death, sorrow, and anticlimax in the face and anticipate victory. To believe all the way down to our weary and decaying bones that the happily-ever-after stories we always wished were true … are true. Location: 1,784               
  • My fellow mourners, come and mourn with me awhile. Let’s lead by weeping and wailing and lamenting and protesting together, and let’s do it as far as the curse is found. But let’s not do so as those who are without hope. Rather, let’s do it as those who know how the Story ends … or, more truthfully said, those who know how the last chapter—the everlasting chapter—begins: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:1–7) Location: 1,798               
  • When platforms and influence fade and when our time comes, we can take heart. For C. S. Lewis couldn’t have been more truthful when he said in The Great Divorce—and that’s what death and separation feel like, a great and terrible divorce—the following words: That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of temporal suffering, “no future bliss can make up for it, not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”  Location: 1,809

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