As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:16-20 (NIV)
We come to the final post in this short series on leadership. In the earlier posts we considered some Old Testament characters chosen by God to be leaders. We saw that these people (Moses, Gideon, Solomon and Jeremiah) were all reluctant to take on the role of leader. They generally made excuses as to why they weren’t suitable for the role. However, God had other ideas as he saw the potential each individual had to fulfil the role for which he had chosen them.
We turn now to the New Testament and consider the best example of leadershp available to us. This is Jesus!
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he describes Jesus in the following way:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)
Paul highlights that Jesus demonstrated characteristics that the world doesn’t normally equate with leadership. Despite Jesus being God he chose to be:
- a servant;
Over the last thirty plus years I’ve lectured to many students on the subject of leadership. I’ve even collected their ideas about what they perceive as being essential characteristics of a leader. Not once in all those years have the characteristics of a servant and obedience ever come up in those lists. The world sees leadership in terms of power and authority, whereas Jesus saw leadership in terms of humility and obedience.
The quote above from Mark’s gospel gives us a glimpse into another characteristic of Jesus; he had ‘vision’. He knew what he wanted to achieve (to save people from sin) and he was willing to share that vision with others around him. Jesus’ choice of the first group of disciples might seem to us to be almost random, based on their knowledge of fishing and applying this to ‘fishing for men’. However, Jesus knew the kind of men these were; he knew their inate characteristics and, most of all, he saw the potential each had to fulfil the task he wanted to share.
If you believe God is preparing you for some aspect of Christian leadership, are you willing to be a servant, obedient in all things to God? Do you have a God-given vision for sharing the gospel with people and are you willing to share that vision with others?