Published March 29, 2016
Joe Taylor, the Chief Information Officer for BYU-Idaho, gave a devotional address about Christ-centered leadership.
He outlined six attributes of a Christ-centered leader and used the story of a family hike to King’s Peak, Utah’s highest point in the Uintah Mountains, to highlight how he learned those attributes.
Taylor said their first day of their three-day hike included challenges, but through his leadership and inspiration they were able to overcome them and make it to their first camping spot. “I admit that a little pride set in as I mused at what a great leader I was,” he said. “After all, during that day I had been presented with challenges of discouragement, exhaustion, fear, and even physical problems. In each case I had used my leadership toolkit to overcome the problems, and now, here we were.”
He said the next day proved much different, “Well, there’s a funny thing about pride, as soon as we begin to be puffed up in our own superiority and accomplishment, God has a knack for teaching us a lesson. The next day He took full advantage of that opportunity and taught me a lesson I will never forget.”
Those lessons, he said, included learning Christ-centered attributes like obedience, patience, humility, wisdom, courage and love.
The second day started positive, but the hikers quickly fell behind their schedule. Taylor saw a shortcut, but obediently listened to a prompting not to take it. He patiently, though with some anxiety, rested with his family as the hike got harder. He humbly realized only some of his family would make it to the top of King’s Peak, but did not listen to his 14-year-old son during a family council about whether they should split up and let some of the family reach the top. His son said they should stick together, “I was the experienced backpacker, he was just a child. In my confidence, I discounted his council,” he said.
They did split up. His wife and two daughters ascended the peak, but on their way down, Taylor could see them taking the wrong path as the sun was going down. This is where he questioned the wisdom of leaving their flashlights at camp and the decision to split up.
After a prayer, he decided to send his group on their way and to sprint back to find his wife and daughters. When he was within sight of them, he noticed the group he left was struggling up the pass to their camp. “At that very poignant moment, all disappointment at not making the peak, and any other petty worry left me,” he said. “I was completely helpless. The feelings of confidence and pride that I had enjoyed the night before were completely vacant.”
After another prayer he went back to his exhausted group and helped them get to camp. Then he grabbed flashlights to find his wife and daughters. He found them hiking in the dark and they returned to the camp. “The worldly pride of boasting that my family reached the peak had been stripped away and replaced by a contentment that I cannot describe. Oh how I rejoiced as we sat there in love with one another and feeling the joy of the Lord,” he said.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio Taylor commented on why he chose to talk about this hike during his devotional, “This hike, this backpacking trip was really an eye opener for me about what it takes, what’s important, what a good leader is,” he said. “And clearly it’s a combination of some of the things you learn in the world but magnified, or augmented by Christ-centered attributes. And that’s some of the lessons I learned on this hike and that’s what I want to talk about.”
To listen to his interview, click here.
Listen to his devotional talk below.
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