That’s a tough question . . .
Years ago, I had the privilege of getting to know Tom Landry while he was coaching the Dallas Cowboys. At that time, we served together on the board of Dallas Theological Seminary, and I discovered that the closer you got to Coach Landry, the more you respected him. One occasion in particular I’ve never forgotten.
Another coach in those days named Woody Hayes had a fiery reputation. In fact, once while coaching an Ohio State game, Hayes got so angry that he slugged a player on the opposite team! Appropriately, Ohio State fired him. In the weeks that followed, people mercilessly vented their spleen on the humiliated coach. Hayes retreated in shame. During that time, Coach Landry received an invitation to a prestigious banquet. Normally, he would’ve taken his wife as his guest. Instead, he appeared with Woody Hayes.
At our next board meeting, I asked Coach Landry why he did it. He said, “Chuck, I figured since everybody else was beating up on Woody, he needed somebody to put an arm around him and tell him he still loved him.” Landry’s gracious act lifted Hayes out of his shame and silenced his tormenters.
Grace has a way of doing that.
So, back to my question: Can you name one thing you admire most in a leader? I can sum up my answer in two words: modeling grace. Think about it:
Nehemiah heard about Jerusalem’s fallen walls. He didn’t have to care. But he did . . . and he organized a rebuilding.
King David learned about Jonathan’s crippled son. David didn’t have to bother. But he did . . . and he fed Mephibosheth from his own table every day.
Jesus knew His people would reject Him. He didn’t have to love them. But He did. He chose to die for their sins anyway . . . and for yours—and mine.
See the pattern? People with compassion do more than care. They do something about it. They model grace.
Compassion means more than merely seeing the need. It means modeling grace by doing something. Coach Landry did. Nehemiah did. David did. Jesus did.
Modeling His grace with you,
Charles R. Swindoll