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Who Is the Greatest Leader You’ve Ever Met?

Yet during the entire time she battled with cancer, I never saw her express any anger at God, or allow what was happening in her life to take the smile off her face. Through chemo, sleepless nights and days filled with pain, she was always quick to remind me that God is good no matter what. Because of her example I was being taught that I can hold on to the promise that even when things don’t look great, He can still be fully trusted.

My mom was always my biggest fan. I played football for a little league rec team and was absolutely horrible. It didn’t matter—my mother was at every game.

But that was before she got sick. The next season, the doctors discovered the cancer shortly before the football season began, and she was too sick to attend any practices or games. I would get dressed for a game and come into the living room, where she was sitting in her chair, to give her a kiss before I left.

The cancer was attacking her body with relentless intensity, and she was in constant pain. She probably weighed about 100 pounds.

Near the end of the season, my mom got it in her mind that she would attend one of my games. I will never forget the resolve in her voice as she said to my dad, “I’m going to this football game.”

My dad didn’t argue. He picked her up, put her in the car and set up a lounge chair for her at the field. She stayed for the whole game, and every time I made a play, I could hear her cheering.

Even when her body was failing her and she had no physical strength left, she refused to give up.

She would not fail me.

My mom modeled that leaders don’t allow circumstances to hold them back from what’s important. She may not have won any awards for her leadership, but her legacy of never-failing love lives on.

Sometimes the best leadership advice comes from the most unexpected sources: from the life of a mother in South Carolina whose life was cut short too soon, or from the pen of an apostle, written some 2,000 years ago.

Whatever your sphere of influence—whether you’re managing a corporation or heading up a small group that meets in your home—I hope these leadership principles will sink into your heart and mind and daily habits.

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Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina. The church averages 26,000 people during weekend services at multiple campuses throughout the state. You can read all of Perry’s unfiltered thoughts about life and leadership at PerryNoble.com. Don’t worry, he holds nothing back.