Flat Tires, Adding Value, and Doing the Work

God used a flat tire to teach me about leadership, action, and obedience.

I changed my tire for the first time on the shoulder of I-35 heading north towards Dallas, Texas. I had spent the day at Liberty Hill Baptist Church for the 2021 Defending Your Faith conference. Matt Baker, a dear friend, and fellow Disciple had joined me for the day and had been a constant source of fellowship and joy for the duration of the trip. When he and I set out earlier that morning, I had no idea the lessons God would have in store for me. Those lessons would come as a result of a flat tire. A Man has two options when a tire goes flat, he can call for help, or change over to a spare tire. I was lucky because Matt was with me, so I didn’t really need to utilize option 1, however, option 2 required something of me. Changing a tire requires effort, it has a cost. That cost was 30 minutes, several days of soreness, and eventually the cost of a new tire. That flat tire also had several consequences that changed the course of my faith and leadership.

I’ve been listening to the Maxwell Podcast for a few weeks now, alongside a more thorough re-reading of J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership. Those two resources have forced me to rethink leadership on a level I’d yet to really explore and it wasn’t until I had to get on my knees to change the flat, that I found out just what had changed. I was forced to recognize that I had to do the work. I’ve always been someone who enjoyed books, theories, ideas, and discussions. Rare has the day been in which there has not been some discussion of ideas or literature, rarer still were the days where I intentionally pursued the employment of good ideas in my life. In short, I loved knowing what kinds of things to do but hated learning what it meant to actually do them consistently. This has been most true in the study of leadership, I love learning how to lead well and lead better but rare are the days I actually strived to lead well. I have always been content to be an advisor, someone who just knows things that can help other people make decisions while never having to make decisions themselves.

Doing the work includes adding value to others rather than directing them to resources alone. Doing the work is about recognizing flaws, finding solutions, and realizing that more often than not the work starts with me. In sum, I left school with a close friend to spend some time learning and teaching about apologetics, and on the way back was put in a situation that made me realize there were some major changes that I needed to make in my life.

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