Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, but today seemed more appropriate, especially since I will not post tomorrow. Perhaps it seemed trickier to do the post in advance.
The majority who read this post remember growing up playing those little pranks on friends, family, or teachers and followed up by saying, “April Fool’s.” Will that be you or me this year?
Generally, these pranks were harmless attempts to get people to look at or believe something that did not exist.
As we get older, these childish games fade and April 1st is just another day. So, what is the point?
When we examine the nature of our leadership, is it more like an April Fool’s prank? Do we pretend to be something we are not? Do we really understand the seriousness of our influence and its affect on others? An honest evaluation helps us determine who is fooling who.
We can fool some of the people some of the time. We might fool most of the people most of the time. We may even fool ourselves, but we cannot fool God. Lead with God in view.
The phrase “glory of the Lord” is found approximately 24 times in the Old Testament. The expression is generally connected to the tabernacle or temple.
The glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting where Moses spoke with God “face-to-face.” We also find the glory of the Lord filling the temple at the completion and dedication given by Solomon. Even Isaiah saw the earth full of His glory as the temple filled with smoke.
The appearing of God’s glory in these ways indicates the desire of God to dwell among and with His people. The greatest indication of this is found in the incarnation of Jesus.
John records, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” Jn. 1:14.
The coming of Jesus opened our understanding to Immanuel, “God with us.” How powerful to consider His presence at every step in our journey through life.
How beautiful to consider the way He works through us to be present in leading others.
The definition of success varies from one individual to the next. We also find that individual and corporate definitions abound. However we choose to define success, whether achievement, financial freedom, independence, family, health, love, etc., remember that our success relies on the help we receive from or the help we provide others.
Marianne Williamson claims that “success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”
From a leadership perspective, we find biblical application connected to this definition of success. When leadership is built on self-interests and self-centered ambition, we can achieve success, at least as some define it.
However, biblical success is directly related to our passion, i.e. understanding that passion involves sacrifice and sacrifice is affiliated with what we give up. And when we make a sacrifice for others, our leadership influence soars.
We can enjoy peaceful rest when our talents and abilities are used to serve others in this way. Here is leadership at its best. How will you and I rest tonight?
Concluding our thoughts on the mark of greatness, we consider one final area demonstrated by our Lord: 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 these four words and thinking about how Jesus individualized each them, the lessons are powerful in leadership greatness today.
Teach: People will only do the work they are taught to do. One of the areas where teaching / preaching falls short is application. We are good to give information and share the imperatives, but “how” do we do it? When the application is provided, we all learn how to fulfill the task.
Encourage: The ability to encourage others motivates them 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 the lives of others. The attitude behind admonition determines the reception.
Equip: Providing the necessary tools to fulfill the given task and responsibility are vital to the success of followers, especially as we prepare them to lead.
The life of Jesus clearly sets an example of greatness, provided so that we might follow in His steps. We have considered His compassion and His ability to discuss matters of importance.
Another area of greatness found in the life of Jesus was His suffering. Jesus suffered on numerous occasions both verbally and physically.
The religious leaders sought 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 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 as well.
Studying the life of Jesus reveals numerous marks of greatness that point to His leadership. As we considered yesterday, Jesus demonstrated compassion regarding the needs of others.
Another characteristic of His leadership was the ability to address matters of greater and more significant importance.
The disciples constantly questioned Jesus about matters of the kingdom, especially a physical emphasis.
The response given by Jesus answered their immediate inquisition, but He directed their attention deeper into matters that were more spiritual in nature.
One example involved the concern of the disciples over the destruction of the temple, the sign of His coming, and the end of the age.
While Jesus addressed their concerns with information related to the signs prior to this event, He took them further into the events surrounding the judgment day.
He wanted them to know that something greater than the destruction of the temple was coming and the reason for teaching them this truth was to prepare themselves and others for that day.
Our leadership is the same; we are to prepare others for that day.
The idea of leadership greatness is quite subjective. However, we discover qualities and characteristics of many historical figures that left a mark of greatness in their leadership.
We do not have time to cover all of these historical leadership mentors, but we do have time to examine the mark of greatness left by Jesus as a leader.
One of the qualities Jesus demonstrated, instrumental in drawing others to Him, was compassion.
Several times throughout the gospels, scripture points to the compassion of Jesus. He was compassionate to those both physically and spiritually in need.
His compassion was more than a feeling of sympathy over their distress; it moved Him to act in ways that met the need.
Leaders who follow the example of Jesus realize the value of this compassionate approach. An awareness of the pressing needs of others is an important component, but compassionate leaders seek ways to get involved to help meet the need.
Pray God will strengthen us all with a compassion that is aware of our environment and willing to help others.