September 2013

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September 2013

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Follow the Leader

The last week of August marked a significant milestone in American history. Fifty years ago on August 28th, 1963 the civil rights March on Washington took place, during which Martin Luther King Jr. presented his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The March was an impressive feat.  Over 250,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. That took organization. That took planning. That took leadership. Not only was leadership important for organizing and maintaining a peaceful march, leadership was also necessary to encourage the people who gathered and give them direction.  It took leadership to rally those 250,000 people.

Leadership is critical to accomplishment.  Without leadership things quickly fall apart, so we look for leaders to emerge in our lives whom we can follow.  There might be any number of people we would look to as a personal role model, mentor, or leader, but isn’t there one person who must be our leader?  Isn’t there one person whom we need to follow? Isn’t it Jesus?

Jesus asks us to follow him.  Jesus asks us to keep him as the leader of our life. When we do that we simply recognize the truth:  “God placed all things under [Christ’s] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”  Without Jesus our lives would be in chaos and confusion because of our sin, but Jesus has removed that sin and offered us life in his name. Jesus demonstrated his leadership by laying down his life for his sheep. Now his leadership assures us that he watches over all things for our good.  His leadership guides us, encourages us, and strengthens us throughout life’s weary way.

Leadership is also important for Christians when they gather as the church. In Hebrews chapter thirteen God’s inspired writer notes that importance when he writes, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”  Whenever a discussion of leadership comes up, a discussion of leadership qualities usually follows.  Notice the qualities mentioned in that verse.  Leaders speak the Word of God.  Leaders live an exemplary life.  Leaders demonstrate strong faith.  In consideration of those qualities, it’s obvious Christian leadership flows from following the leader – Jesus.

Leadership doesn’t always have to bring 250,000 people to gather for a march. When leadership is carried out as we follow our leader, Christ, it often may take on more subtle, but no less important, forms.  Parents are leaders when they teach their children the truths of God’s Word and love them.  A friend becomes a leader to us when we struggle with life’s difficulties and they stay by our side and offer words of comfort and encouragement. As you follow your leader, Jesus, note the examples of Christian leadership around you and look for the opportunities to be a leader.

Reflection:

List the qualities you seek in a leader.

Does your list change in any way when you consider Christian leadership?

What comforts can you expect knowing Christ is your leader?

What challenges can you expect knowing Christ is your leader?

Write a prayer asking God to help and strengthen you when you have the opportunity to be a leader.


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