Father George Rutler always looking for the next great leadership idea. Every day seems to bring a new article, book, blog, or post about being a better leader.
However, as a Christian, I am constantly asking myself where Jesus fits in the context of leadership. His example set the foundation for leading others with love, grace and towards a better version. So it did in five ways.
He saw potential rather than perfection
Since, God cares about our happiness, family’s happiness, and our eternal salvation. Christ did not tell me to strive to be perfect when He said, “Be perfect.” He was helping me to see my divine potential. He wanted me to see a bright future. Father George Rutler stated, “Perfection is on the horizon.” It will only be possible after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love Him and keep His commandments”. It is not perfect. Past mistakes are part of the process for achieving perfection.
As used in the Bible, perfection refers to culmination, completion, or complete development. To be perfect, I must first be saved. I must love unconditionally. Christ must make me whole. I believe it is closer to the essence of a good person – one who will “be perfect in Christ” by the grace of God.
He takes good care of herself, listens to her needs, be patient with yourself, is kind and repentant, strives for improvement and God can do great things with us if we are willing to serve Him and His children.
Every single disciple of Jesus was a work in progress. He called corrupt tax collectors tag along politicians and thieves, as well as simple laborers. So it makes sense that Jesus Christ would choose perfect men to lead his church. He looked at their hearts instead of looking at what was happening outside. He saw their potential. He did not seek perfection but potential.
Our ideas about perfection and our desire to attain it are quite different from the teachings of Christ about the model. Christ does not demand perfection, even though He told us to “Be therefore perfect.” Instead, He reveals our divine potential as God’s children.
He was forgiven even before he was abandoned
Judas finally gave Jesus up for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus knew this would happen. Yet, in Matthew 26 and John 13, he washed Judas’ feet and fed him at his last meal. Jesus cared for Judas, despite his evil intentions. He loved Judas and all those he served.
Jesus asked questions
Religious leaders often challenged Jesus at the time. His followers also questioned him at times as they searched for the truth about God. Jesus usually answered by asking questions. Jesus was teaching both his disciples and Jewish leaders to ask questions and find solutions on their own. He often told stories that required reflection when he answered directly. Jesus asked more questions than Jesus answered.
He did not expect to be served but served others
Jesus stated, “For even Jesus, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his own life for many” (Mark 10, 45, NIV). John 13 saw Jesus wash the feet of his disciples. Although it seems simple, this task was culturally uncommon in Jesus’ time. Leaders did not wash their feet. It was servant work. It was dirty and lowly, but it was not what leaders were expected to do. His followers saw that his true mission as a leader was to serve others.
Jesus was a leader who exhibited grace and accountability
He often showed grace by meeting them unexpectedly. For example, Chapter 7 of John’s Gospel tells us that a woman has committed a crime and should be executed by the law. He replied that everyone is guilty and only innocent people can be convicted. He showed grace and forgiveness to this woman and made her whole again. Then he sent her back to sin no more. He was a leader of grace, but he sent them out with responsibility.
My natural tendency is always to expect others to follow my rules. Therefore, it is often difficult for me to show grace for mistakes. While we can always help others be better, it is essential to remember that people make mistakes and are entitled to dignity.
Leadership can be complex. It can be challenging to make the right decisions and inspire others to become their best selves. Jesus was an example of how to care for others and encourage growth. It is encouraging to know that Christ will shape our hearts as individuals and guide us as leaders.
Life under the Shepherd
Psalm 23 is one of the advanced Psalms, among others. The first verse, “The Lord, my shepherd, I shall have nothing” [NIV] (although the King James Version “I will not want” was confusing to me as a child). David wrote the psalm. It gives insight into David’s humanity and God’s love for him. Many articles, study guides, and commentaries reflect on David’s humble expressions in these verses. We can see in verses 1 through 4 how God provides, refreshes, and restores directories and comforts us by David’s analogy of God as his shepherd. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says that this psalm expresses delight in God’s goodness and dependence upon Him.
After reading verse 5, I feel that David had a deeper meaning and understanding of God’s character. We will focus on the first verse, which reads, “You prepare the table before me in my enemies’ presence.” It indicates God’s generosity and graciousness in hosting a meal with plenty of food and drink. It also signifies God’s blessing and recognition. Priests and kings were anointed in oil. Therefore, the part “in my presence of my enemies” has a deeper meaning.
The God Who Serves
David lived in a polytheistic society where neighboring cultures believed in multiple gods. These peoples, often hostile to the Israelites, such as the Philistines, were known for having their pagan religions. First, they would offer food and drink to their idols, setting up a table. Then, they would pray to their gods, hoping that their offerings will bring them a favor.
David wrote the verse “You prepare the table before me in front of my enemies” to prove that the Lord was not only the true God but also his enemies. It was as if he was telling these pagan religions that he would serve them food and drink, but his God will feed him with a feast. My God makes a table for me while you prepare it before your God. He anoints my head with oil. My cup is complete.”
Imagine David’s enemies seeing this, confused by God’s willingness to love and serve. Verse 5 is David’s declaration of faith in God’s love. It is David’s declaration to his enemies: “The things you must do to make your god love me, my God freely does so for me out of love.” David isn’t gloating nor being self-righteous. Remember that David walked through the “darkest valley” before verses about the Lord setting up a table. It was a low point in his life and must have humbled him. He was able to see his broken world. But through God’s gracious comfort brought on by his rod (correction/protection) and staff (guidance), David fears no evil in those dark times. God is there for him through it all.
David declares that God’s unconditional love is immeasurable and vast. Nevertheless, he knows that love is what he needs to be able to serve his unresponsive gods.
Psalm 23 is my favorite verse in the Bible. These verses show us that David is adamant about the all-powerful Father who loves us unconditionally. We cannot make Him love us better, but we can’t do anything to make Him love you less. We don’t have to fear the darkest times or any enemy that may come against us. Our Good Shepherd is always with us. No matter our journey, God’s goodness will always be with us (verse 6). His love is like a large table that is always full of food.