Leading Like Jesus in a COVID19 World: or “Becoming Follow-able People”

Washing Feet

Leading Like Jesus in a COVID19 World

With special reference to our time and the Covid19 virus, maybe it is a good time to reexamine the servant model of leadership pictured in the life and teachings of Christ. How should Christian lead in the present crisis upon the globe?

I am convinced that he is the best leader who reflects the supreme leader, Jesus Christ. Leadership for the Christian is simply reflecting the image of God to the world around us. Any discussion of leadership, therefore, must examine the life of Him “who although he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Phil. 2:6). The secret of Christ’s ability to lead was the servants role he freely and consciously assumed in all his dealings with men. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus’ entire life demonstrated in action what he said in word. He was available to heal, teach, counsel, and comfort. He washed the disciples feet, allowed John to baptize him, fed the hungry and gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life for the sins of the world.

Christ’s life was a model of servanthood and because of that fact, he was able to lead. His life teaches us the simple reality that great leaders are great servants. Men and women followed Jesus for many reasons, not all of them wholesome, but one of the chief reasons we was followed was the needs he met in the lives of the people he met.

Two examples of Christ’s servants heart can be seen in his feeding of the 5,000. In the beginning of the sixth chapter of Mark, we find Jesus going through a rather disappointing and tragic filled day. Nazareth, his home town, has rejected him. His cousin and probable boyhood companion, John the Baptist, had been beheaded. For days Jesus has been going from village to village preaching the good new. Late one evening after an exhausting day of training the disciples and ministering to the multitude, Jesus attempts to draw away for a private retreat with his men. But the people spot them getting into the boat and “ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them [the disciples and Jesus] (Mark 6:33).

What did Jesus do? “And when he went ashore, he saw a great multitude, and he felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things” (vs. 34) Two qualities of leadership-servanthood that jump immediately out of this passage are Jesus’s availability and his compassion.

Although he was exhausted, although he had ministered faithfully for weeks in a mammoth preaching tour, although he had faithfully ministered all day, although the hour was late—he saw the people with compassionate eyes. People, it would seem, really mattered to the heart of Jesus. Filled with physical needs himself, he put their needs ahead of his own, fed them spiritually (“taught them many things”) and physically (fed the 5,000). His compassionate heart overruled his fatigue and drove him to reach out to the multitude.

How shall we lead like Jesus in the face of a world pandemic? The same way.
Serve others.
Sacrifice for others.
Allow ourselves to be driven by the needs of others for compassion and care.
Entrust ourselves to him.

Even though it was already late, he made himself available to those who were sheep without a shepherd. These two qualities, his compassion and his availability made him in the eyes of the people a “followable man” (at least until the following got tougher)—a man who cared for them personally and demonstrated his care tangibly.

When we in the body of Christ seek to “lead mean and women to Christ” we need to follow his example of servanthood. We need to develop the same kind of “people eyes” for the needs of those around us. Seeing with the eyes of Christ demands an abandon to his Lordship in our lives.

But it is in the this abandonment that we will find the strength to do all that he lays before us to do. To the disciples, Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). My responsibility and yours is to follow him, to drop what I/we are doing, to abandon what I/we are committed to and accept his call to the followship of serving him and his cause.

But if our job is clear, so is his. He retains the responsibility of making us into a fisher of men. Feet that follow will see more with each step that they take. But we do have to go to the fishing hole. The fishing hole is the world. And right now, with the Covid19 virus, the opportunities to serve our world, to love our neighbors, to sacrifice our comfort for their good spiritually and physically are multiplying by the hour. Tomorrow, I’m going to post some of the best ideas I have heard about how we can meet the needs of our world in the present moment.

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