The crowd hung on his every word. A masterful storyteller, David held the attention of the entire lunch table. Then, with a dramatic pause, he scanned the group with his eyes just before delivering the punch line.
As the other students roared with laughter, Ann caught her breath. When David’s blue eyes had locked with hers, for just a brief moment, she knew in her heart that he was the reason she was there.
He was a golden boy, a natural born leader. He excelled in everything he did. Even those who might have been envious got caught up in his genuine charm. With twinkling eyes and a dashing smile, he made friends with everyone he met. With determination, Ann set out to make him hers.
Ann attended Bible College for one reason and one reason alone. She came to find a husband. Her friends teased her about getting an M.R.S. degree, but she didn’t care. With no skills, no interests and no ambition, other than getting married; Bible College was the place for her. Here she would find a man that would honest and faithful and would be approved by her parents.
When she learned that David’s dream was to be a missionary in Africa, Ann changed her major and learned all she could about African culture and missions. Before graduation, David and Ann were madly in love and planning their ministry together as husband and wife.
Life in the remote village of Nigeria was not exactly what Ann had in mind when she first went to college. Yet with David there, she was content and they thrived on their work for the Lord. Anytime she became frustrated or homesick, an encouraging word or a gentle touch from David was all it took. Her love for him could help her overcome any obstacles or hardships.
The next ten years, Ann built her life around David and the ministry he led until one tragic day when her world turned upside down. A farming accident claimed the life of her husband. For the first time, she was alone with no one to guide her.
Before the shock had time to settle, Ann found that those who had turned to her husband for leadership now turned to her. It began with the tear streaked faces of her children, “Why Mommy? Why did Daddy have to go to heaven?”
Then it came via e-mail from her family. “When are you coming home?” they asked. “There’s nothing for you there in Africa.”
The churches that had supported David now had questions for her too. “Where should we send the support checks? Do you intend to stay or should we stop raising funds?”
She hesitated to answer. She didn’t know why David had to die. She didn’t know if she should go home or stay. Without David, she had no home. How was she supposed to know where the churches should send the support money?
Then the questions began to be asked by the people David had ministered. They were mourning his death as well, “Surely you won’t leave us now,” they pleaded.
Finally, the mission organization from which David had served also looked to her for answers. “There is so much work to be done,” the representative told her. “We hope that you will remain here and finish the work of your husband. God didn’t just call David, He called you as well.”
All these questions swam around her head. She closed her eyes and wondered for the first time what it was that made David shine. What was it about him that drew others in? Why was he able to preach, teach and lead with such charisma?
She realized that David didn’t just lead, he loved. He didn’t just love, he served. He didn’t just serve; he became one with those he led. With her mind’s eye, she pictured him as she alone had seen him so many times. Kneeling on his knees morning and night he would lift up in prayer the people he served.
With a sob, Ann fell to the floor. Grief struck her like a wave. Without words she prayed and pleaded with God for guidance. As the tears stopped flowing, a strength of which she never knew rose up within her.
“Teach me, Lord.” She prayed. “Teach me…” She had already learned the first step of successful leadership.
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