Here is a picture of the elite men’s winner of this year’s Boston Marathon. His name is Robert Cheruiyot from Kenya. His time was a new course record. There is one more aspect of marathon running that strikes me as having parallels to Christ-centered leadership. The issue is that of nutrition. It is a well established fact that nutrition plays a huge role in the life of an athlete in performing well. For years carbo-loading has also been a well established practice for long distance running–or any endurance event. It matters how you eat before a race and it matters how you maintain your nutrition during a race. I just read an article about the most common mistakes for marathon runners–and one of them is not considering proper pre race nutrition. You don’t want to eat an exotic meal the night before a race. It will definitely mess with your digestive system resulting in some unwanted race time consequences. Not only do you want to build up and maintain a regular eating regimen for best results–but you also want to build the same race day habits that will serve you best. So eating the same types of things at about the same time will help your body regulate what you need during the race. You also want to combine the right combination of water, sports drink, and other foods or gels during the race to maintain needed calories during the race. As the other posts have suggested all of this really matters if you want to finish and do well.
Nutrition is important for leadership too. What you take in will come out. I recently saw an out of context quote by Andy Stanley that said he did not believe there were any real differences between secular leadership and Christian leadership. Now to be fair to Andy I’m sure he was taking aim at the false dichotomy that people can create between the two–mainly not employing best corporate practices in the church that will aid in leading and managing the church. And I imagine if you pressed Andy he would readily agree that there are some differences–even Scripture notes them (Matthew 20:20-28). I would strongly suggest one huge difference is where you are drawing your “nourishment” for leading. If we are not “drinking deeply daily” from the truth of God’s Word then we only have ourselves as a reservoir for practicing our skills. And I have found that I will quickly slip into all kinds of bad practices when that is true. So it is imperative that a Christ-centered leader be in the Word individually and corporately to lead well and to ultimately point people to the face of Christ. It wont do to “binge” every now and then–or always eat “sweets”–or only eat what is easy and likeable. We must digest all of God’s Word over time and do so in daily chunks. And we must gather with other like minded pilgrims to be under the teaching of God’s Word so that the ally of community keeps us from false teaching and practices. This will absolutely impact who we are becoming as a leader and how we lead. It will make the difference in finishing well and finishing at all. Lead well!