One cannot discuss leadership unless you talk about Jesus. Even those who do not follow Christ may find it hard to deny that He is among the greatest leaders to have ever lived. Jesus himself gave us one of the greatest pieces of advice not only as our human purpose but also as a leader, “Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV). If the purpose of living is to love, then it should be no surprise that the purpose of leading is to love as well. The example of leadership that Jesus gives is one of self-sacrifice.
This goes against what we think of most leaders, who just get what they need from people to get the job done. This scripture encourages us to not view people as objects to use, but to see them as individuals who have value. We are not called to just make people productive but to love them into their God given potential. The Great Commandment comes with great implications as a leader. He says we are to love God with our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, which is saying to love God with every fiber of our being. When He calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, the overtone is still to love with everything within us. Considering leadership in this sense, is to lead with your whole self for the blessing of God and others. The purpose in both our individual life and corporate life is the Great Commandment and if this is our purpose, then our priority should be to live this love out.
This brings us to the Great Commission, the last command that Jesus gave to his followers in Matthew 28:18 – 20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” There is no better way to show our love for God than by obeying the command to go and spread the word. Understanding that the preaching of the gospel is a crucial point of the Great Commission is imperative, but we also must recognize that the development of leaders is the moving force of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
In Micah 6:8, God gives us specific instructions what he requires of us, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This not only applies to us as beings created in His image but also as a guideline for leadership development. A leader must act justly. Acting justly does not mean just talking the talk, but also requires action. Acting justly as a disciple of Christ means to make fair decisions in our personal and business lives. A leader should understand that everyone is created in His image and should be treated with dignity.A leader loves mercy.
Not just receiving mercy, but applying mercy. What is mercy? Not getting what we deserve. A leader does not give an eye for an eye. While there are consequences for actions, a leader knows how to be merciful. Finally, a leader walks humbly with God. An effective leader is not arrogant or proud because he holds a position of power.
Instead, he realizes that any authority comes from God. This humility is what holds the key to acting justly and loving mercy. Our purpose as humans and leaders came when God invited us to demonstrate His work to a confused world. To the question “Why are we here?” the ultimate answer has to be: “To worship and serve God.” (Wright, 2010).