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I have a friend who has a photo album on Facebook called “Me.” The description says, “Sometimes it is just all about me.” And, sure enough, all of the pictures in that album are just her. I know her well enough to know that this is tongue-in-cheek, because she is not a self-absorbed prima donna.
Sadly, some Christian leaders exhibit the It’s-All-About-Me attitude. This really irks me, especially because we see the exact opposite characteristic in Jesus.
Let me key in on just one example from His public ministry. John the baptizer has just been martyred by King Herod. John was Jesus’ cousin. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a loved one martyred or even murdered, but I’m sure we’ve all lost a loved one at some point. It might be a little easier to take if we saw it coming, but the sudden deaths always jar us the most. We have to have time to grieve our loss.
Jesus had all of the same emotional responses that you and I have, and He wanted some time away to grieve. He got into a boat with His disciples and headed to a remote place on the other side of the lake. Looking for a little time alone to grieve the death of His cousin, Jesus was met by a huge crowd. He would have been perfectly justified in saying, “Not today.” Or even in saying, “I’m going to let My disciples pray with you today.” Instead, Jesus put the needs of others first.
- Jesus healed all who were sick
- He taught them
- Then He provided food for the nearly 10,000 people who were there
- After the meal, Jesus sent His disciples (who also needed some grieving time) back across the lake without Him
- Jesus stayed behind and dismissed the entire crowd. I sort of imagine Him hugging people, shaking hands, and continuing to listen to the questions and concerns of everyone
It was only after this that Jesus went up into the hills to spend some time alone in prayer.
Yes, leaders have to take care of themselves and their people. But good leaders take care of others first.
I unpack this idea in even great detail in my book Shepherd Leadership. If you want to be used as a leader, you must allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate this others-first attitude in you.
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