Jesus on Leading: Humility 2: “Not so with you.”
Heard from some leaders:
“I’m the leader. I know what’s best. You need to do as I say.”
“I can’t tolerate that complaining, critical attitude. You need to fall in line.”
“I have the solution. Here’s what we are going to do.”
These are real statements by leaders that I have heard recounted recently. And of course there is truth in each one.
If you are the leader, you will usually know what is best. And submitting to authority is expected.
A complaining, critical attitude is not okay and creates a variety of negative emotions for members of a team.
A leader needs to lead—to discern problems and solutions and next steps.
Yet there is something in the tone of these statements that contradicts this clear word from Jesus Himself:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Perhaps the humility in leading that Jesus requires would cause these kinds of words from leaders who follow Jesus:
“I have some thoughts on how we go forward, but I imagine you have some good ideas as well. What do you think? Your ideas? What input would you have on my ideas?”
“I sense you have some concerns about that decision. I would love to hear those concerns. Hopefully we can address them together.”
“I’ve noticed you have good problem-solving skills and creative approaches. Could you spend some time on this issue and come back with some ideas the team could consider?”
These are some simple ideas of how a leader might lead/respond that could help change the atmosphere and build up team members.
But most of all Jesus’ instructions call us to take a good look at ourselves, to ask ourselves some penetrating questions:
Authority/shared leadership: Do I feel that, as the leader, I have to exert my authority and demonstrate I am in charge? Or am I willing/able to include others in creative thinking, problem solving, decision making?
Power/respect: Said another way, do I need to hold the power or can I trust and respect those I work with/am in relationship with to share that power with them?
Pride/humility: Or most basically, do I live and lead out of pride in who I am and the skills I have, or can I humble myself to think more highly of others than myself. (Philippians 2:3)
Paul calls us to the model of Jesus for living in humility:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11)
What about you? Where might God want to help you grow in “not so with you”?
C2013 Judy Douglass