Do Your Actions Match Your Intent?


Sometimes leaders have great intentions, but their actions often betray them as they lead their people. They want to make a change, do something new, or change their behavior, however, their actions (what they actually do) don’t align with their intent.

Moses (Exodus 2:11–15) saw an injustice on his people. His intent was to help them, but his actions—killing the Egyptian and covering it up—betrayed his intentions.

In Luke 17:1–10, Jesus in some lessons to His disciples, has some things to say on the subject.

The first question asked is, “Am I impacting others?” It is always easier to detect what is wrong with other people than to spend two minutes looking at what’s wrong with us. In verse three Jesus says, “Watch Yourself!” Oswald Sanders wrote, “A leader is a person who has first submitted willingly and learned to obey a discipline imposed from without, but who then imposes on himself a much more rigorous discipline from within.”

We need to ask ourselves: what words, lifestyle cause problems for others? How do I spend my time? Where do I show indifference? Do we acknowledge only people who agree with us?

The second question we need to ask is, “Am I learning to forgive?” In verse three and four, Jesus reminds us to rebuke and then forgive — rebuke leads to repentance that leads to forgiveness that leads to change. Sometimes leaders are caught in a cycle of just fixing the immediate situation and not looking to change root causes — systemic problems. The purpose is to help other people grow and develop. Forgiveness also leads to lack of memory of the event. We can, and our team can, move on.

The third question is, “Am I living in Faith?” Verses five and six cause us to see that faith overturns reason, probability and experience. The mustard seed moves through the ground to sprout causes tremendous pressure per square milometer. How does all that happen…it’s faith.

Lastly, Jesus teaches a balancing lesson, “Am I doing my duty?” He’s asking, “Should the master (boss/leader) give a person entitlement or honor just for doing their job? How are things balanced on the team? How is achievement rewarded? How is loyalty rewarded?

In the 1970s, Robert Greenleaf first coined the phrase, Servant Leadership. He writes, “The test of servant-leadership is the effect it has on its followers. If it is truly servant leadership, it will cause the followers to grow as persons and while being served, become healthier, wiser freer, more autonomous, more likely them selves to become servants.”

His quote speaks positively of goal setting and helping people reach their potential. Christ’s gifts to us are enablement and grace. While we search for our intentions, and focus on our actions, we need to seek His enablement as well as His grace.



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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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