I spent some time yesterday researching the subjects of Jesus and leadership. Frankly, after some time, it actually started to upset me, both emotionally and physically. If you are a mature believer who suspects Christians no longer know how to read their Bibles, look no further than the subject of Jesus and leadership. It provides virtually limitless examples of theology based on “what the Bible means to me,” and “here’s how to take Bible verses and make them fit what you want to say.” The sheer quantity of this… crap is overwhelming. (To be clear, I’m referring to the attempt to force business enterprise management principles from Christ’s life.)
The old adage, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” comes to mind. When we’re convinced that “Leadership” is The Answer to Everything, it’s surprisingly easy to justify. We simply take all Jesus’ teaching on serving and apply it to leadership. For example, one blogger I found said, “Jesus knew that the most important thing about being a leader, was serving the people you are called to lead.” This is completely nonsensical. It’s like saying, “the most important thing about being in front of someone is to be behind the person you’re in front of.” We’ve just become so accustomed to hearing this meaningless jargon that we begin to think it true because of sheer repetition.
Why do you think this is happening? Well, here are some possible reasons:
Serving: often unnoticed
Leadership: valued in today’s culture
Leadership: requires leaders
Serving: anyone can do it
Leadership: measured by what we achieve
Serving: measured by what we give up
Jesus said he came to serve (Mark 10), said the greatest person in Kingdom economy was a servant (Matthew 23) and after washing the disciples’ feet said, “I have given you an example to follow” (John 13:14). This isn’t secret code for becoming a more influential leader. This is God with all his power, in human form, demonstrating how to give up power and be a servant and instructing us to do likewise. That is his leadership lesson. Give it up. Lay it down. Serve.