This series on “Reflections on Leadership” was something I prepared for a youth camp in which I am now adapting into blog posts. It has a preachy tone to it. I’ve divided it into a series of three (see below). Today though we will focus on the first one.
1) Following Jesus
2) Humility: Killing Off Personal Agendas
3) Serving in Love.
To be a leader one must start at the very beginning, to be a follower. In the kingdom of God leadership does not start at the front but as a follower, disciple.
Matt 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Matt 8:22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matt10: 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
Other point of references: John 21:19, 22
Following Jesus here is represented by a life of action and surrender. This is because the task we have is one that follows behind, and observer and join in when he calls. Following Jesus does not work on your own pace but Jesus’ pace. Let him lead you otherwise you will stunt your growth. The more we allow Jesus to lead us the more we will be ready to grow.
How is it possible for us to follow Jesus in our time now, because there is no physical presence with us?
- By his Word.
We read in John 1:1 that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God. The word is understood as Jesus and so we live following Jesus by the word of God that has been given to us. We learn that the Bible is God’s word to us, something that is communicating to us.
A letter from someone we know is as real as the person who sent them because you know the person. So too is the bible. We know the person so the words that he left for us are alive and well and can guide us.
So we follow Jesus by reading his word and listening to it. That means we are with him, listening to him. Hearing God speak to us.
- By acting out his word
Following Jesus is not just merely by his word just listening to them but also if he word is to be complete it has to be applied. Jesus did not come into this world merely to give good advice, to leave with us good ideas for our minds, or to tell us good stories. His word will not work like that.
For one to fully follow Jesus he has to apply it. That is, do what Jesus calls us to do. His words require us to act.
He did not mean ‘love God with your everything and your neighbour’ as a good idea or just doctrine.
He did not mean ‘go and make disciples to all nations’ as a subject.
He did not mean ‘take up your cross and follow me’ as a good food for thought.
He gave these words for us to do something with them. If you would like to see someone who really follows God, the person will be someone who both hears and does God’s words. There can be no other way.
- By being with his people
Following Jesus is not a plain individual piety kind of thing, where one wanders off and escapes. A lot of us think following Jesus is just me and Jesus. At some points this is true but the plan of Jesus, to follow him is coupled with the responsibility of doing it together; with others. What good is just one person to show to the world that he is changed or ‘good’. It is easy to be alone because there are no things like disagreements, hurts and things like that.
But what if people can work together for the sake of Jesus? People can settle issues and disagreements because both are obedient to Jesus because they both hear and do what he says.
If we want to know, Jesus prayer for his people was that they become one like the father and Jesus are one. And by this the world will know that God sent Jesus. And also the one passage about being disciples- the world will only know that we are disciples in Jesus when we have love one for another.