|Jesus Washing Feet by Simon Dewey|
I’m not a theologian nor a pastor. What follows is just my perspective on what Faith-centered leadership should look like in our secular world. As Christians we should know that Jesus Himself, as always, is our example of how to live out all aspects of our Christ-centered Faith.
Jesus himself was a leader and called his apostles and disciples to be leaders – Christ modeled leadership and challenged His Apostles and indeed all His disciples (i.e. ALL Christians) to strive to live out his example of leadership – that example is to lead with a sacrificial heart and to serve the needs of those most in need, to raise up the marginalized, to treat the lowliest equal to everyone else. He didn’t come into the world to bring down the wealthy and privileged; but, my understanding when I read the Scripture is that He did come into the world to raise up the underserved and all people, regardless of the superficial status we humans accord each other. Christ is our leadership example of that in every word and deed recorded of Him, from him telling Peter and us in John 21 to “Feed my sheep” to His own humbling example of washing the Apostles feet in John 13, and more. Christ’s leadership example is always and ever about serving the underserved.
Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow Me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matthew 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.
John 13:12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as i have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.
There are many other passages teaching leadership in both the Old and New Testaments; I find the most meaning in the above Scriptures. What these passages mean to me are basic guides, listed below, for how to live out a life of Christ-centered leadership. And, again, Christ’s leadership example is always and ever about serving the underserved.
Christ led with a focus on those most in need – the underserved in our societies. He never valued a rich man over a poor man. He didn’t spend His ministry raising the privileged even higher – He spent his ministry raising up the down trodden.
Christ led with a sacrificial heart of service focused on those most in need, and He sent others out to share His example of leadership, raising others to their best potential.
Christ showed us that we must understand those we want to help and be understood by them. He talked to the people in need and He heard them, healed them, filled them with hope. As leaders, we have to begin by listening and understanding in tolerance and compassion for all, to recognize and serve the needs of others without judgment.
Jesus taught us by His every Word and by the example of His every deed how to live out a life of leadership through service to those most in need. And, He taught us that we all stand equal before God.
Moreover, Christ shows us that our notions of serving status (i.e., the interests of the wealth, privilege, and of corporations – an entirely humanistic leadership viewpoint) are counterproductive to Christ-centered leadership and His commands that we love one another and care for those in need.
His example also taught us to work together, even as He sent His disciples out into the world in teams to work together. Even the blessing of the Holy Spirit is an assurance that we are not alone in whatever mission God has for our lives, that we will always have a partner working together with us when we work for God’s will.
Christ’s message is always of hope for all people equally. His example of leadership is always and ever about serving the underserved. His hope isn’t reserved for the privileged or the powerful.
Jesus’ message is of hope for all people everywhere – to me, that is a Christ-given directive found in His message and in His example of DIVINE EQUALITY. That is Christ’s shared inspiration for Faith-centered leadership.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”