Banyan Tree and Jesus Tree Leadership

As a board member of World Vision US I read with gratitude this week the annual report of our president Rich Stearns: income over $800 million this past fiscal year; more children being helped; revenues up, overhead down.

But Rich was not bragging. Grateful for his staff and our worldwide partners Rich wrote:

In the final analysis, the measure of our effectiveness will be found in the quality of
our relationships, rather than in the height of our bar graphs … I am aware each day
that we stand on the shoulders of giants and work side by side with the Johns, Pauls,
Peters and Marks of our day – Christ’s servants and disciples who will wear glorious
crowns in Christ’s coming Kingdom, though they are little recognized in this life.

Reading this I remembered the Indian proverb: Nothing grows under the banyan tree. With its huge spreading branches and thick foliage the banyan keeps the sun from shining through, so the tiny seedlings under it never have space or light enough to grow.

Some leaders are like that. Strong and powerful, with wide reach they take up so much space and suck up so much oxygen that younger leaders don’t have a chance to emerge.

Leaders like Jesus, unlike the banyan tree, are less concerned with their own space, and more to make room for Jesus to grow in others! Thanks, Rich, for reminding me of this!

Leighton Ford

November, 2004

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