2 Life Lessons from a Teenager

This past Sunday afternoon we had a student leadership team meeting in our youth group. This team is working through the book “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do,” which I referenced two weeks ago in a post about servant leadership. We are reading through and discussing the leadership implications in the book, and this week one particular image came up in the book. Mark Miller describes leadership like an iceberg, with skills being the part that people see (above the water), and who someone is at their core being the part that people can’t see (below the water).

As we talked about this imagery of the iceberg, a couple of our students brought up implications of what it means in our lives. This is something that impacts how we live on a day-to-day basis, not just someone in a position of leadership. The following two points were just too powerful not to share. And it’s even more impactful that they were pulled out by some of our teenagers.

1. There is much more beneath the surface than above

This was the first point. Who we are as individuals, at the core of our being, is more important than what we do. Yes, people may notice the things that we are good at, and people can be successful through skill and maybe even be a decent leader because of a particular skill. But, no one can become a truly great leader unless he or she is a person of character and integrity.

Wherever you are at today, make it a point to be genuine and full of integrity. Let what you say come from who you are. Don’t fall into the trap of the world, saying you are one thing when you are really another. We can find freedom in taking the mask off and living out of who we are, not who someone thinks we should be. Cultivate your character.


2. Icebergs are made up of fresh water, but they float around in salt water (i.e. they are different from their surroundings).

Wow, this one caught me off guard! Icebergs are fresh water floating in salt water… They are literally in something that they are not of. As a follower of Christ, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. This means that we go into the world that is dark and lost, and we bring the light of Jesus Christ with us. We look and talk and act different than the rest of the world that we are living in.

This is a tall task for us today, isn’t it? Our world is increasingly becoming less kind toward Christ-followers. There is a double-standard of acceptance and tolerance and judgmentalism. But the second thing we can do today is to live different than the world around us. We cannot stay separate from the world because we live in it, eat in it, work in it, go to school in it, etc. But imagine if we were to talk differently (with encouraging, kind, loving, truthful words), think differently (like how can we use certain situations to make much of Christ), understand and see things differently (like not seeing annoying or obnoxious people, but seeing people who need a Savior and loving them where they are). That is how I want to impact this world.


There is a two-fold challenge today for your Tuesday Encouragement:

  1. Cultivate your character and integrity (let who you are be more important than what you do or how well you do it)
  2. Act differently than the rest of the world, with actual kindness and generosity and love (act like Christ did when He walked on this earth).

These two things will go a long way to living out the Gospel so others can clearly see the way we live and give glory to God the Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).


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