As we conclude this series we consider one final mark of greatness demonstrated by Jesus: His confidence in twelve men to turn the world upside down.
Jesus taught, encouraged, admonished, and equipped these men in preparation for the work He commissioned them to fulfill.
Looking at how Jesus individualized these four words, the lessons are powerful for leadership greatness today.
Teach: People only do the work they are taught to do. One of the areas where teaching / preaching falls short is application. We are good at giving the information and sharing the imperatives, but “how” do we do it? When this information is taught, we all learn how to fulfill the task.
Encourage: The power behind encouragement motivates people to work harder than before. When criticism is tempered with encouragement people change.
Admonish: Warning, advising, or even reprimanding others is needed to prevent harm from occurring in their lives. The attitude behind admonition determines the reception.
Equip: Providing the necessary tools to fulfill the given task and responsibility is vital to the success of followers, especially in preparing them to lead.
“Wisdom is learning to let go when you want to hang on. Courage is learning to hang on when you want to let go.” Mark Amend
The subjects of wisdom and courage have warranted discussion on many levels for a long time. These two qualities or attributes are critical to the development of leaders.
The quote today adds a dimension to these qualities that challenges our understanding of how to apply them in our leadership.
How many projects have we held on to that were destructive, when wisdom said we should have let go long before?
How many times have we let go when the courage to hang on one more day or week would have delivered success?
The challenge is developing the posture of learning. Wisdom and courage provide great benefit when we learn from them.
Learning to let go even when our emotions are telling us something contrary and learning to hang on when the appearance of letting go makes sense are foundational components to demonstrating wisdom and courage.
Spiritual leadership today needs to learn the potent combination of these two attributes.
Decisions are part of life. Every day is filled with making decisions. Sometimes the decisions are quick and easy to make. Other times they are difficult and require a great deal more thought.
We would understand that many decisions have little consequence: what to eat for breakfast, what clothes to wear, etc.
Other decisions, however, carry great consequence: the choice of a spouse, where we live, our occupation, raising children, etc.
There is one decision that is extremely consequential and that is the decision to follow Christ. This one decision should be the foundation for all other decisions.
As leaders, we carry a responsibility that is twofold: 1) we must be about leading others to this decision of following Christ, and 2) we must also lead others to make every decision that guides their life based on that one decision.
The next time we think a decision through, let us take a moment to determine how this decision will influence others and if it will fit within this twofold responsibility as a leader for Christ.
Is there really a difference between a “reason” and an “excuse?” We have all heard someone say, “I’m not making up an excuse, there is a good reason why…”
When we consider the time we take to pray and study God’s word, what single reason would we give for not being more dedicated to this time?
When we examine how we live our life: the words we use, attitude we display, places we visit, how we treat our family, and our attendance to worship, what single reason would we give for the choices we make?
When we think about our allegiances to friends and family, what single reason would we give for placing those allegiances above our loyalty and faithfulness to God?
I could ask many questions, and the convicting nature of these questions is aimed at me first and foremost.
If asking them helps you to consider your relationship with God, then this post has been successful. Please know our time, life, and allegiances all need greater consideration as we must one day give an account for how we prioritize them.
Light is defined as “a source of illumination.” Light, however, is so much more when we consider what it actually does and what it symbolizes for spiritual leaders.
We could say that light is simply the absence of darkness; “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
Jesus claimed to be the “light of the world.” He also said His disciples were the “light of the world, a city set on a hill,” and followed this by saying, “let your light shine.”
Leaders need to be illuminating a vision that is built on our faith in God and His word.
Our light needs to shine forth the example of Jesus as it is revealed throughout the Gospels. When this happens, our good works are seen in such a way that others will glorify God.
A good study of light reveals that it is a key word in the Gospel of John. The next time you consider reading through one of the Gospels, highlight the word “light” in John. Then consider how the word is used in context and how it applies to our leadership.
The life of Jesus is clearly an example of greatness, provided that we might follow in His steps. We have considered His compassion and His ability to discuss matters of importance.
This week, another area of greatness is found in the life of Jesus: His suffering. Jesus suffered on numerous occasions. He suffered verbally and physically.
The religious leaders were seeking to eliminate this threat to their position and power.
The ultimate suffering, however, did not come at the hands of the religious leaders, even though they instigated the procedure.
At the hands of Rome, Jesus would encounter suffering beyond imagination, as He was beaten, ridiculed, mocked with a crown of thorns, spit upon, scourged, and nailed to a cross.
Suffering is not often seen as greatness, rather a stumbling block and foolishness, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.
The purpose of His suffering makes this act of leadership a mark of greatness.
As leaders today, the higher we go in leadership the greater the sacrifice we must make. Suffering will be a mark of greatness for leaders.
“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” John Wooden
Mr. Wooden is famous for many reasons, one of which is his leadership thoughts that have been used frequently by leaders, especially coaches.
The thought he expresses here speaks to one of the most significant areas of leadership.
We have all seen people with great ability, college and professional athletes, musicians, and others in the Hollywood / Broadway entertainment field. We have also known those with great ability but little character.
Without character, regardless of the ability, it is impossible to have lasting leadership. Nothing could be more true in connection to spiritual leaders.
Perhaps the major difference is the idea of being at the top, because spiritual leadership is about the humility to be at the bottom and to remain humble enough to stay there.
This is where leadership character is built.
When spiritual influence is guided by a humble spirit, character seems to naturally follow. The combination of the two provides the staying power of a Christlike leadership needed today.