Last weekend I ventured into the wilderness to paddle the world famous Bowron Lakes canoe circuit [see photo]. Quite the adventure. More on that trip in a future post. Prior to the trip I had been reading Stephen Pressfield’s, “Gates of Fire”, in which he recounts the heroic stand of 300 Spartans and their allies at Thermopylae- a rocky mountain pass in northern Greece- against the might of the invading Persian army.
The reflections on kingship as exemplified by Leonidas the Spartan king, express the essence of true leadership. See the full quote below:
“I will tell His Majesty what a king is. A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand at watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men’s loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which compromises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them. He serves them, not they him.”(Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, p. 360).
The heart of a true leader is the heart of a servant. In the words of Jesus, the greatest man who ever lived, if you want to be great learn to be a servant; if you want to be first learn to be a servant of all.
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