John 13: 15, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (NIV)
Many of us refute the position of leadership. But, as Christians, leadership isn't an option. We lead with our lives. You see, leadership isn't attained through corporate positions, rather it's revealed through influence... Influence demonstrated in our friendships, family, and the familiar.
Think about it...We have the incredible opportunity to lead our children, serve our spouse, and convey God's love to our community.
The truth is, we either lead through positive, deliberate, choices or lead passively through un-intentional acts of indifference. I for one want to impact and inspire my circle of influence, how about you?
Jesus demonstrated the essence of perfect leadership leaving us a powerful example to follow. So, how did Jesus lead?
- Jesus led through delegation. I love how Jesus sent out the disciples in Mark 6:7, "...he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits." (NIV) One of the greatest opportunities we have is to empower others. Jesus possessed the ability to disarm all the powers of darkness with just a word from His lips; instead He empowered the disciples. Jesus knew the future establishment of the church rested on these men; one day He would return to His Father; these men needed to embrace the power given them. As a mother, wife, and minister, I must remember to allow others to participate. True, I may be able to do the delegated tasks, but true leadership risks stepping back so that others might enjoy the rewards of stepping out.
- Jesus led through Humility. True leadership resides in servant-hood. In John 13:4-5 Jesus "poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." Wow. The night He would be betrayed, the night He would encounter the beginning of His torture...He didn't sit back expecting honor or special treatment...instead he humbled Himself and washed the feet of the ones who would betray and leave Him. (NIV) Would I do that? Do I do that? When others disappoint do I continue to serve? When my spouse doesn't follow through or act like I think he should...do I humbly serve? When people forget or fail to support...do I judge or continue to wash their feet? True leadership necessitates servant-hood.
- Jesus didn't concern Himself with opinions, rather He stood for what was right. All throughout the Gospels, religious leaders attempted to trap Jesus. They questioned his authority. Jesus didn't concern Himself with popularity, instead He went to the lowly, the afflicted, the destitute. He overturned money tables. He resisted "Pharisee-like behavior." He stood up for what was right. As leaders, we shouldn't look for opposition; we shouldn't try to defy governing authority...but...when faced with the decision of popularity or genuine righteousness...we must persevere to honor God...following Christ's example.
- Jesus led through vulnerability. He willingly risked being betrayed, choosing Judas, knowing he would betray Him. John 13:18, "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.' "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He." (NIV) Leadership recognizes the potential of betrayal yet willingly embraces vulnerability. Ahhhhh, Lord help us! :)
- Finally, Jesus demonstrated the essence of leadership through LOVE. Jesus loved much. He unbiasedly embraced the sinner. He ate with prostitutes and tax-collectors. He touched the lepers. He forgave the ones who nailed Him to the cross. True leadership doesn't look to advance through relationships. True leadership serves the helpless. Who surrounds us today? Who can we demonstrate the love of God to? May our mission each day be to advance the Kingdom of God through His Love. May we touch at least one person each day, serving those who can never repay or return the favor. May we follow Jesus footsteps and LOVE deeply.
PRAYER: Father, empower us to live as Jesus lived and to lead as Jesus led.