Jesus is the quintessential leader. During His life on earth, he turned three years of ministry into a worldwide movement that changed history. Today, more people follow Him than any other leader in the world. As a model leader, Jesus practiced the most vital principles of leadership—and he provides an example for us to imitate. In the spirit of Christmas, I’d like to share 12 powerful life lessons every leader must emulate:
1. To Serve Is To Be Great
“Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.”
Here is the secret to great leadership. Leadership is not about rulership. It is about serving others. And in giving to others you will never lack for any good thing in your life.
2. There Is A Cure For Worry
“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.”
To live a worry free life is a joy. Anxiety is a killer. So to be able to face each day, knowing that if the world can exist in such beauty and splendor, there is nothing that you need to be concerned about. Take a fresh look at nature and get the point.
3. Love Conquers All
“Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself.”
“…if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.”
When it comes to love we are given three directives: Love God. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies.
The first step forward to develop this love in your life is to learn to pray. I have found prayer to be an incredibly energizing practice. Now if this is not familiar to you, let me explain that this is not the point where you get all holier than thou on me. Prayer for me is simply sharing my heart with one greater than myself. You will often find me talking out loud as I pray, or sometimes I’m simply speaking quietly in the depths of my mind to one greater than myself.
I was actually up at 3.30am this morning praying. That happens to me from time to time. But I also pray while I’m at work. I pray while I stroll beside the ocean. I pray in the car. I pray as an individual, and we pray as a family.
But what is prayer? Simply handing over life’s good and bad that we’re handed to one far greater than ourselves – and that even includes our enemies. Seems back to front to conventional thinking – but I have seen many an enemy turned around 180 degrees through the power of simply praying that good happen in their life.
4. Follow The Golden Rule
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.”
This is such a wonderful principle. Simply, do as you want to be done. Often the good turn won’t come back from the one you did it for – but it will come back from somewhere in this amazing universe that we live in.
5. Ask For What You Need
“Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open. Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.”
Go on, I dare you. Ask. In sales I learned very quickly that if I never asked for the sale I would never get the sale. The power is in the asking. Now I’m not saying that you are going to pull a sales strategy on God. But ask, and in your asking expect to receive. When my children ask me for something, as their father I cannot resist the pull that it invokes on my fatherly heartstrings to give them the best that I have to offer.
6. Judge Not
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, and criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole travelling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour.”
Point one finger in the direction of another in judgment and you have three pointing straight back at you. Not good. Resist the slippery slide towards judging others.
7. Keep Your Word
“Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”
If you can say yes. If you can’t say no. Don’t muck about by telling a lie when you know that you cannot do what you have promised. The word ‘no’ can be your most liberating friend if used wisely. You can’t do everything, so start practicing the use of it. And if you say ‘yes’ ensure that you do what you say – even if it is inconvenient. This builds a depth of character in your being and trust from those around you.
8. Give In Secret
“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively.”
There is nothing worse than someone blowing their own trumpet. Practice the art of giving in secret. Your reward will be great.
9. Forgive Others
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
To forgive others is to free you from the disabling chains of unforgiveness. Sorry is sometimes the hardest word to say, but once said it is liberating. Don’t wait for others to apologize. You lead the way and be the first to offer the hand of forgiveness. This is not about wrong or right, but rather living a life of freedom.
10. Speak Good Words
“A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, so use words wisely. Put a watch over your mouth and analyze the words that leave your lips. Are they positive? Or are they tinged with negativity and judgement? This is serious business, so pay heed to the advice given. It is truly the difference between salvation and damnation – here on earth – let alone throughout eternity.
11. Nothing Is Impossible If You Have Faith
“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”
Faith is a small word, but a powerful one at that. Faith is trust in a greater one than yourself, trust in the abilities that have been placed within you, and trust that with every step forward you will find your way towards your dreams and your goals. With a sprinkling of persistence added to the formula you can do but one thing – win!
12. Use It Or Lose It
“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’”
Every one of us has been endowed with a specific gift or natural talent that requires use. If you fail to lose it you will lose it. Whatever you do, don’t compare yourself with the other guy or girl who seems to have been given a bunch of talents. Use the one that you have and develop it. These represent your personal strengths, and like any muscle, the best way to develop a strength in your life is by strengthening it. So at every opportunity use it – and that way you will never lose it. You will in fact enhance it and position yourself to become a leader in your chosen field of endeavor.
If there is one of these life lessons that you have developed in your life with great results, comment how it has helped you.
Source: Sinclair, Peter G. James. (2011, April 23). Retrieved from http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/12-must-read-life-lessons-from-jesus/
12 Leadership Lessons Everyone Should Learn From Jesus is by Paul Sohn, first published here on the author’s personal blog.