I experienced a great leadership lesson from Kathy Keller, wife to Tim Keller of Redeemer in Manhattan. Before moving to minister in NYC on Staten Island I was motivated to call Kathy Keller and just glean from her wisdom in being a pastor’s wife in the area. I had never met Kathy but of course had heard of her husband and Redeemer. People I was blown away by her immediate response to my phone call and quick reply to my emails. She was so willing to answer my questions with incredible honesty and transparency. Her authentic passion for God, her family and the people of NY oozed from the phone. Her willingness to help me, a stranger from Alabama, brought a great leadership principle to mind: Add Value to People. When we give generously to others, the impact of our generosity often outlives us. Recently I called Kathy to talk with her about raising her children in NYC and to ask her opinion of why Redeemer (Tim Keller planted 20 years ago) had had such massive growth. She returned my call the same day I left a message on her way out of town. I listened to her response like a sponge soaking up all of her experience and wisdom. She added value to my life.
Kathy reminds me of Joseph who offered a relevant service without asking for payment or recognition. Too many of us give to others, but with strings attached. We’re busy people, too busy to be too generous. This attitude limits our value because our focus is on what we’re giving up, not what the other person is gaining. Joseph gave his gift away without a thought of asking for payment. In return, he was surprised by being named prime minister of Egypt.
Lord, May I have such a generous spirit so that I can add this kind of value to others.