The Leadership Bible by Andy Starnes-Chapter 2: The Leadership Journey
As we begin our leadership journey we must understand the great responsibility and privilege we are about to assume. We have stepped up to an awesome and amazing opportunity! To lead others in the ‘way they should go’ (Proverbs 22:6) and impact lives for the future of this world and the world to come.
Make no mistake, this is no easy task and it will not be a smooth paved road with rest stops every few miles. Even the pure of heart will face opposition, discouragement, slander, and persecution all the while trying to improve the world that they serve in.
Why is it that those who choose to lead others suffer greatly?
What leadership characteristics will help us along the way?
The world wants leaders, they cry out in desperation for leadership during the dark times, and they are quick to point their finger in the moment that a leader fails them. Pause and remember the life of Jesus for a moment, which is our ultimate example for leadership, who gives a glimpse of the burden of leadership in the following scripture:
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming, the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Matthew 9: 35-38
We can learn much from this scripture but for the purpose of leadership let us examine Jesus’ example and learn from His life.
Obedience: First, Jesus was obedient. He was following the will of His Father. “And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, “Philippians 2: 8-9.
God had sent Him to the world to save the world and He was faithfully going about His work despite the opposition He had faced and would face. A leader understands that their purpose and direction is not self willed but God-given as we see in the life of Christ.
Humble Servant: Notice that Jesus was leading through the role of servant leadership “teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news, and healing every disease and illness.” Jesus is God incarnate or God veiled in human flesh yet “who being very nature God, did not consider equality with God to be used to his own advantage; rather He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” Philippians 2:6-7
Compassionate: And while He was serving He saw the crowds and had compassion on them. As we begin the leadership journey we must remember that our service to others must be out of love. To have compassion for our fellow man is to see their great need and respond with our acts of service. This is godly characteristic of leadership and it cannot be overstated that if one begins to lose their compassion for their fellow man then they must consider stepping away from their role of leadership.
Next, notice that the crowd was helpless and Jesus stated that the need is great (harvest is plentiful) but there are few who choose to lead them (the workers are few). As we study the Bible, our guidebook for life, we can see that it wasn’t too long after this story that the same crowds who praised Jesus were shouting “Crucify Him”.
It is as if the world does not want the burden of responsibility for the outcome of the world in which they live in. Followers can quickly turn on a leader even if the leader has done nothing wrong. In order to be prepared for such struggles we must be obedient, humble, have a servant’s heart, and have compassion for our fellow man. These are found in one who embraces God’s love for themselves and therefore is compelled to love, serve, and lead others out of their gratitude for what God has done for them.
Do you feel compassion for the needs of the world around you? Are you obedient to the call within your heart? Pray to God and ask for His guidance to be the Servant Leader that He has called you to be.