I’d like for us to start our day with a prayer from Scripture. Would you take a moment and pray this verse out loud? “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).
Now, go back through the verse one more time and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of sin in your life. Ask him to show you where you are thinking incorrectly. Ask Him to transform your heart today.
Over the next two days, we are going to zoom in on Peter’s challenge to leaders. Peter gives specific encouragement to those who have received the position of leadership in the local church. The local elders served in similar capacity to pastors and ministry leaders today. Without a doubt, Peter would expect these principles to be applied to all types of leadership in the home, in the business world, and in the local church.
Perhaps you don’t see yourself as a leader. You may not have a title or specific position of leadership, but I want to encourage you today that you can make a difference with your life. Leadership in God’s kingdom is about loving people, adding value, and influencing others in the right direction.
When Jesus shows up in the first century, everywhere you looked, there were horrible examples of leadership. The Roman leaders used their authority to push people down. The religious leaders were also extremely oppressive with their religious demands. Naturally, the early followers of Jesus were confused about leadership, even after spending three years with Jesus.
One day as Jesus’ disciples were pushing for positions of authority and prominence, Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV).
Before Peter jumps into how you “do leadership,” he starts with how you “view leadership.” Because as one of my mentors says, “How you view things is how you do things.”
Last night I had a weird nightmare. In my dream I was somewhere in another country sharing my faith with a group of people who were of a different religion. As a result of my sharing, a militant group found out, and they decided they would beat me. As I was in a car heading into a holding center to await my beating I realized that I would have to watch my wife, Stacie, and my daughter, Karis, be beaten first. In the dream I was trying to figure out a way to get Karis out of the car and have her avoid the suffering. I am not sure why I wasn’t trying to get Stacie out, but it was such a horrible dream. I woke up in a sweat and thanked God the dream wasn’t real.
This writing project has made me think about suffering more than I have at any other point in my life. Peter brings up Jesus’ suffering again in this passage. The Christian framework for leadership is suffering. As you go up in kingdom leadership, you are called to give up your rights. Leaders who are not willing to give up simply will not be able to go up in kingdom leadership.
It’s almost like Peter is there thinking about how to appeal to the leaders. He needs to give them instructions, but first he needs us to think correctly about leadership. Our model and example to follow is Jesus. We can be instructed and inspired by examples in business and sports. I would be among the first to agree that we can learn from anyone, but we must take all of our leadership practices and ideas and put a frame around them.
The kingdom crown is a crown of thorns. Before we are able to lead, we must be willing to suffer.
How would it change things if every leader began to think this way? What if your CEO or the president of your organization began to put the goals and interests of others before his own? What if your boss recognized all her authority as a way to bless others?
What if every group leader and every pastor in your church put the cross at the center of their leadership viewfinder? I pray that God helps us learn how to become better leaders in our homes, our businesses, our churches, and our communities. I want to become more and more like Jesus and allow my view of His sufferings to be the lens for leadership.
Tomorrow, we are going to get into the practical aspects of Christian leadership that I think you will find very helpful.
Today, I hope you will take a few moments to think about Jesus, the greatest leader to ever walk the planet. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you have the proper view of leadership. Repent of any misplaced motives, and ask Him to give you a heart to bless others with your leadership.