Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Saturday, November 15, 2014
What does it take to become a great leader? Is it the great influence you can exert on others by means of your charisma, knowledge, oratory, or wealth? When you look at the lives and works of people you consider to be great leaders, what attributes stand out? Was it something they were gifted with or did they learn it? And why is it so difficult for most people to become a great leader?
There are many models for leaders, both good and bad. As Christians, we look to Jesus as our leader, the greatest leader of all time. But Jesus had a big advantage – He was God. How can an ordinary person become a great leader? Jesus Himself had a few ideas on this subject.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26). Jesus tells us the greatest men are to serve us and to be our slaves, just as He did. They are not to intimidate us with power, riches, or other worldly influences, they are to be humble servants. Jesus even told us who the greatest man ever born was – a servant leader named John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11).
John knew the secret to becoming a great leader – it meant he had to place other people and their needs ahead his own. John put his followers first and served them faithfully. However, this was not the test of truly great leadership. John’s test came when Jesus started His ministry. John knew he had to bow to the greatest leader, saying, “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30).
History records few leaders who willingly ceded credit and power to someone else. The world tells us leadership is gained and retained by keeping control over those who follow us, not by deferring to others and bowing out of the picture. In a paradigm reversal, John’s actions paint a picture of what Jesus calls us all to do, and that picture is a reflection of what is in our heart. We should all ask what picture appears on the canvas of our heart.
John’s heart was obviously God-centered. When Jesus pronounces you the greatest man born of woman, you must be living in obedience beyond that of others. John’s good heart was reflected in the ministry he led. Crowds flocked to him despite his humbleness and despite his awkward and distasteful location – the middle of the desert. (Matthew 3:1-5). His influence as a powerful leader attracted a huge following. With his heart in the right condition and with God’s blessing, he quickly rose to prominence throughout the country.
Servant leadership does not seem normal to the world, but it worked. John had many people who followed him. Among these was Andrew, the brother of Peter. (John 1:40). John’s servant leadership also had an influence on religious leaders, who feared him (Matthew 3:7-10). Moreover, John was not a “politically correct” leader. He blasted the Pharisees and Sadducees at every opportunity, yet they could not touch him because he was so popular and influential. Even Herod, the powerful and cruel Roman puppet king was captivated by John the Baptist and the power he possessed. (Mark 6:14-20).
Jesus tells us that greater leaders are servants. “I tell you the Truth: Among those born of woman there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11). Jesus confirms how great leaders are those who are willing to serve Him. Jesus tells us that if we want to become great in His eyes, it is normal to become small in the eyes of the world.
How will you respond to Jesus’ direction on becoming a great leader? Are you ready to get small? Are you ready to become less so you can be considered great in the Kingdom of Heaven? Are you committed to serving others first? The world is always in need of great leaders, leading families, worship, prayers, church services, and the instruction of God’s Word. Challenge yourself today to become the kind of great leader God designed you to be – a servant leader. It’s by being a lowly servant that allows you to rise in esteem in the eyes of the LORD.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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