Exodus 15:13 – In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. (NIV)
As a result of the events that have taken place in the world over the last six weeks, I have been thinking quite a bit about leadership. What makes a leader? What draws us to a leader?
In this country, we seem to elect leaders based on everything from good looks, financial status and influence, to how well they express themselves or whether their political values are similar to ours. We continue to vote for them and stand by them until they do something we disagree with. Then we vote them out, and repeat the process with a new leader, who often changes things implemented by the former leader. The focus is on the needs of the majority, and sometimes individuals get lost in the cracks.
In other countries, leaders are not always chosen. They may gain their leadership through birthright or even force. They often retain leadership until either they are succeeded by the next generation or a stronger power overthrows them. They control their followers' lives in every way. Their focus is on their own achievements and on drawing power to themselves. While both forms of leadership are acceptable in the eyes of the world, each falls very short of what our eternal leader has in mind for us.
Jesus' leadership was unique. He led through servanthood. Many wanted Him to raise up an army to defeat the Romans. The Pharisees hated Him because He believed in helping and healing people's lives rather than conforming to a restrictive set of man-made rules. But He never tried to draw attention or glory to Himself. In fact, He was always drawing attention to His Father; He reminded people that His Father was greater than He was. He focused on the needs of individuals, and kindled hope in the hearts of people. Jesus didn't seek to gain power, but became more powerful because of His incredible, selfless expression of love and service to people. People followed Him and were drawn to His genuine love, which draws us even today.
This is the kind of leadership our hurting world needs more than ever before. We each need to develop a servant's heart. There are so many hurting people to love. Let's follow Jesus' lead. Let us do things that deliberately draw attention away from ourselves and on to our heavenly Father. Let us love the unlovable; trying to view each person we meet as a gift of God — someone God wants us to lead home through our communications and actions. Let's be like Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, You are our great leader. Help each of us to develop a servant's heart, so that others may see You in us and want to follow You. Help us to be focused on You in all we do, and not on what we do for You. Thank You for leading us by example and for being with us every step of the way. In Jesus' name. Amen.