Looking through the scriptures this morning, I noticed a few things about spiritual leaders that I think could be helpful on the path to leading well.
Read Matthew 27:41-43
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day did a few things that we can observe to help us not make similar mistakes as we lead others.
Mistake 1: Being like everyone else.
The passage starts off: “Likewise”…Isn’t it interesting that the spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day were no different than all the rest of the people around? As a spiritual leader, we should be much different than all of the world around us. This is one of the reasons leadership can be so difficult.
As a spiritual leader, God has called each of us to a different way of living. We shouldn’t be chiming in and sounding like everyone else around us. It is a great opportunity for leaders to have a unique voice, a different tone and march to a different beat, when everyone else around us is looking to crucify someone.
Mistake 2: Denying God.
The spiritual leaders were only willing to believe in Jesus if Jesus did all the things they wanted Him to do. Jesus/God does not operate that way. As a spiritual leader it is important to not deny God the rights to do as He will at any time.
The leaders of Jesus time were throwing all kinds of conditions and stipulations on the people and on God. Are you doing that in any way? Are you limiting God or people? Are you demanding that they do something to prove who they are? Are you trying to prove something yourself?
These religious leaders wanted to prove to Jesus, their people and even to God that they had everything under control and within their power. They were completely wrong.
Mistake 3: Missing the big picture.
How often as a spiritual leader has this happened: looking at the circumstance instead of God? These leaders of Jesus’ day could not for the sake of their lives believe that God would send His son, much less have Him save the world like this…and yet God did.
There may be situations, circumstances, and issues that we face as leaders that simply don’t make sense to us. There may be a myriad of questions that go unresolved for months and maybe even years. As a spiritual leader, faith, hope, and trust are essential to endure to the end. Just because God didn’t intervene and save His son as the leaders thought would happen, didn’t mean God wasn’t pleased with Jesus and doing a much greater work than they could possibly imagine.
As you walk the path to leading well today, here are a couple things to take with you:
Be ok with being the leader and not being like everyone else. God has allowed you to lead for a reason. Set the tone, march to a different beat. Don’t cave into popular demand and certainly don’t mimic the rhetoric around you.
Be aware of how you are trying to manipulate others or God. Let God be God. You be a leader. Leaders don’t have to coerce people…they compel people because of how they live and how they love.
Be focused on the big picture. It’s not about us as leaders; it’s about God’s story and His plan. Don’t miss what God is doing around you because you feel it should be another way. Just be pleasing to God but remember that even that might get you crucified at times.