Leading like the King of Kings
Men like accomplishment. We like to look at we've done and say, "I am successful." We like it even more when others see that success and give us respect because of it. Of course this has nothing to do with right and wrong, it is simply the way that God programmed men to lead. The problem lies in the fact that we take the popular opinion of what success is over true success, as God defines it. Then we go a step further and take credit for our measly work rather than thanking God for the ability and the heart to do anything for His glory.
People who want to be like Jesus are not immune to these sins. I must confess, for example, that it is often a temptation of mine to want to get a higher degree, not because that is what God is necessarily calling me to do, but because that is what the world says brings respect and success. I am tempted to prefer upfront, big-event, mass-ministry over personal, life-on-life ministry.
Today is Easter. Let's therefore remember the leadership method God incarnate chose for himself and his followers. First off, he did not choose the accomplished, successful religious figures of the day for his closest disciples. He chose weak, uneducated fisherman and tax-collectors. He didn't choose the life of moving up the corporate ladder, He chose the life of a servant, the life of downward mobility. He loved his own dearly till the end and then gave His life for them. This is the type of leader that I want to be - a person who spends his life for others as he gains life from God.
I have another confession. I am still learning to submit to this definition of leadership. It is so backward to the world's way of thinking; even to most Christian thinking. Not many people say what I have learned from Henry Nouwen, in his book, In the Name of Jesus.
Nouwen writes, "I kept praying, 'Lord show me where you want me to go and I will follow you, but please be clear unambiguous about it.' Well God was." God led Nouwen out of a professorship at Harvard and into a life of personally serving mentally handicapped people by these words, pressed deeply into his heart: "Go and live among the poor in spirit and they will heal you."
He writes, "So I moved from Harvard to L'Arche, from the best and brightest, wanting to rule the world, to men and women who had few or no words and were considered, at best, marginal to the needs of society."
I could go on and on quoting important words from his book, but I will end with these and hope you will buy the book yourself.
"We are not healers, we are not reconcilers, we are not givers of life. We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for. The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God."