A Worth it Heart

Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

So what is a worth it heart? What is a heart that gives rise to worth it days that result in worth it years and produce a worth it life?

A worth it heart is a heart that has learned to navigate the wall of inadequacy.

The wall of inadequacy is that place in life to which Jesus brings all of us to teach us the most foundational principle of life and leadership:You must do what you cannot do with what you do not have for the rest of your lives.

Jesus did that with His men when He commanded them to, “Go and see” how many loaves and fish they had to feed the 5,000. They already knew they could not feed the 5,000, but He wanted them to know their tangible lack of resources, to stare this straight in the eye, and to feel how helpless they truly were. Then they were ready to learn what He really wanted them to know: I can do what you cannot do through you no matter your limits for the rest of your lives.

Now you are thinking, “I know that!” Of course you do—and so do I. Then why is it we spend so much time struggling, feeling like we’re worthless failures and resenting that feeling, caught up in our appetites, wrestling with fear and anger and lust and shame and frustration and all the struggles we experience at times? Because knowledge is one thing, but acceptance is another. We know we can’t do what Jesus commands us to do (we do, don’t we?), but believing it and living it are two different things. A worth it heart treats inadequacy as the most active reality in our lives and not as a theory.

There is nothing you can do to make yourself worthy of Jesus. There is nothing you can do to obey Jesus. There is nothing you can do to gain His approval. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. Accept it! The more you fight it the more you become paralyzed at the wall of inadequacy—the reality that without Jesus you can do nothing! And the more frustrated you will become. And the more disappointed you will become. And the more fearful you will become. And the angrier you will become. And the more entangled you will become in your self and in self-justification and in self-defense and in self-assertion. And the more we become frozen in place, totally unable to move.

But a worth it heart has learned these realities and learned the humbling exaltation that comes with them, not the exaltation of self, not the fulfillment of fantasies, but the exaltation of Christ as He does what we cannot do through us, even as He fed the 5,000 through His men. How amazing it is that He fed 5,000 men plus women and children through His inadequate men, from His hands to theirs. That’s what the worth it heart has learned: adequacy comes from His hands to ours. “Go and see!”

From "A Worth it Heart" on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.