Pronunciation Guide

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

“S” is for service/sacrifice

There’s a scene I love at the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I can’t find a clip, so I’ll explain it briefly.


It’s after the final battle. The war is over, and Zuko (former enemy turned friend) is now the Fire Lord. He and his friends are sitting in his uncle’s tea shop, and Zuko is serving tea to everyone. He’s the ruler of his nation – and he is serving, not demanding he be served. (Here is a link. Start it at about 21:45.)


I have numerous leaders in my story. Some use their position to further their agenda, often at the expense of others. They aren’t corrupt – they’re typical. In both my story-world and real life. We often think of “leaders” as strong, powerful people with great influence/speaking abilities.

I believe a great leader serves. A great leader isn’t one who stands with his head lifted above the crowd – he’s the one who stoops and bows his head to wash the feet of those he loves. He doesn’t send his people to battle – he goes in first. He is the one who doesn’t focus on trying to lead – he focuses on being someone worth following.

I have selfish leaders, but others are different. Whatever else their methods, they are humble, respectful, compassionate. They seek to serve instead of trying to force/convince others to serve them. They don’t demand people sacrifice for them – they willingly sacrifice for others. They don’t tout themselves as great leaders – they just try to be good people. People don’t follow them because they are charismatic, natural leaders, or because they have special powers/great influence. People follow them because they trust their hearts, their goodness.

Sorek and Tirhakah are the two that come most readily to mind. Neither asked to be a leader, neither is a natural leader (Sorek is fiery but a loner; Tirhakah is reserved and hates attention), and neither finds their worth in the power given them. In truth, both would step down and slip away in obscurity if they could.

But they can’t.  
They love people too much.

They passionately, desperately, sacrificially love people. They break for the broken because they know how it feels to be shattered. They gather the abandoned because they know how it feels to be left alone. They defend the weak because they’ve had to fend for themselves in a cruel world.

They have come through the fire and emerged stronger, refined, focused.

When things go wrong or the enemy attacks, bad leaders throw aside whatever they said and seek to save themselves. Good leaders hurl themselves between their people and the enemy. And with fire in their eyes and passion pouring from their hearts, they stand there until they cannot stand anymore.

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