A Bike Ride - An Illustration in Leadership

Sometimes it is stressful to be a leader.

Isaac and I went on a bike ride yesterday. We had fun. We were going to ride our bike to a friends' house and eat some apples in his yard (ones that we were bringing, not stealing) and then ride back. The plan was flawless. We would get on our bike and drive down 49 (yes, that is the road that has semis on occasion) to the county road. From there we would make it to our friends' house, stop and eat, and come back home. As with many good things in life, we spontaneously stopped at my uncles' house and ate some pears that we stole off of his pear tree. At the time I thought their could be nothing greater experience in the whole world than picking a pear for me and my son, who could not reach one although he told me which one to pick, and eating it there together in the yard I used to play in when my Grandma lived in that house.

The ride was a reminder that God is great. What a privilege it is to ride down the road with my son on a beautiful day. Well, I did forget my silly hat that prevents me from getting too much sun, and I was wearing short sleeves. My dermatologist will definitely know that I have gotten sunlight. Part of me wonders if I really should obey her command to not get any sun. But I digress. It was a great time.

Anyway, the experience was perfect but stressful. As the adult, I needed to keep looking to make sure cars were not coming. I needed to inform Isaac when we needed to get off of the road.

It became even more stressful when we left our friends' house. We were sitting there, enjoying apples while his dog warmed up to us. We call the dog Nafai Jr. because he looks like our Nafai but only half the size. I would post pictures but nobody wants to see pictures of other people's dogs.

After the apples were devoured, we began to head back home. The dog decided to follow. I yelled, "Sit!" "Stay!" "Go home!" - anything that I could think of, but the dog would not listen. He was going to follow us home. I couldn't just shove him in my friends house because the dog might leave a mess. The chain outside had another dog on it, so I could not just chain him up. So Isaac, the dog we called Nafai Jr, and I began the ride back home.

As the adult, I had to now make sure that Isaac would not die and that Nafai Jr. would not die. I began to contemplate how we were going to get across the bridge on the way home. Hmm.

Nafai Jr. would sometimes stray into the middle of the road. Thankfully, I learned how to herd him with my bike to the side of the road before reaching 49 (the road with the semis). Then we began down 49. I was thankful that Nafai Jr. decided to run on the other side of the big ditch. He wanted to run down the middle, but he soon discovered that it was too muddy.

Then we got to the bridge. I still had not figured out how I was going to get us all across when Nafai Jr. ran down to the water to get a drink. I noticed that the creek was low and the dog could get across. I told Isaac to hurry up and get to the other side with me. He questioned my leaving the dog. I said, "I do not have time to explain everything we need to do to get Nafai Jr. across right now. I'll tell you later." He obeyed and we quickly rode across the bridge. Then we hopped off of our bikes and ran to the other side of the creek and started calling Nafai Jr., who mysteriously responded to his new name very well on the ride home. He had trouble making it up the creek wall. I thought I was going to have to get in and lift him up. It's crazy the things we are willing to do in a moment of "crisis." Anyway, just when I was going to get in, he hopped up and made it up the bank. Whew.

Our house is only about a hundred yards from the creek, so we had smooth sailing from there to our house. Nafai Jr. became an indoor dog, locked in our kitchen because he was the world's smelliest dog, for an afternoon until our friend came home from work. But leading him home was no bed of roses. It reiterated to me that in order to be a leader, even on a simple bike ride with your seven-year old boy, you have to be a servant.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me” John 13:1-20 (ESV).