Jesus is impressive. I know this is obvious to many of us and maybe you’re thinking (with a hint of sarcasm), “Of course he is, Jesus is God!” I could use the space of this blog to list all the ways he elicits the response “Awesome!” However, there’s one particular aspect of his character that has drawn much of my attention lately: his leadership. Particularly, how by the mere use of his authority he draws people to trust him with their greatest treasures: their hearts.
Now, I suspect for most of us, when we hear the word “authority” it’s not a heart inspiring experience. History is littered with examples of the misuse, I should say, abuse of authority. From the most powerful position in the world to the authority of an everyday father, leadership has caused pain, suffering, and death.
But when you see Jesus’ leadership in the little things, you see someone trustworthy to have authority over the greatest treasures of our lives.
Let me step back and give one reason why I’m interested in Jesus’ leadership in the everyday small things. As a father, I want to lead in such a way that my family happily places themselves under my care, my love, and my authority. Even in the most difficult times, even when my children are being disciplined, I desire that they would have a trust that I’m leading on account of my love for them. That somehow I’m meeting their needs in that particular situation because I’ve established in everyday moments a clear pattern that I’m all about meeting their needs because I love them.
That’s where there’s a rub. It’s in the everyday moments where I seem to fail, even sin, the most. Just for an example, after a long hard day or a week of travel and teaching, when I get home all I want to do is cease. Stop. Rest. For me that means not being available. But what do my kids need the most? A dad who’s available for them any time they need me even if I’m exhausted. What builds that kind of trust? That I look to meet their needs above my own. Yet I could use my authority as a father to create a distance between them and me. Or use irritability so that they wouldn’t want to be around me. And the fruit of this isn’t a desire to be led but a mistrust of their father.
It was Jesus in two seemingly insignificant verses in Mark 2:1-2 that struck me square in the heart. Here Jesus comes to his home base in Capernaum after he traveled from town to town throughout Galilee teaching. He had to be exhausted after all that walking and teaching. I imagine when he got home he was ready for a break and a good meal. That’s when, just as Jesus was about to take a bite of a well-deserved meal, there’s a knocking at the door.
If it were any of us, we’d be thinking “Now what?” And as the door was opened to a mass of people wanting to hear from you and see you perform, you’d say “Not now, I’ll teach the word and heal the sick tomorrow, right now I need ‘me time.’”
But that’s not what Jesus does. Instead he puts aside whatever rest he was getting and invited them in and began preaching the word. In the midst of resting he’s available for fellowship and meeting the needs of those around him. We find Jesus even before this getting away from everyone, but he spends time with the Father. In Genesis our Lord ceases but in his resting he walks in the garden with his creation. Our God leads by meeting the needs of those around him and always being available for fellowship.
Could you imagine what kind of legacy one could leave if as a parent, a spouse, a friend, or a pastor, that no matter how tired you might be that you were available for fellowship and to serve? I imagine unity and health as the major characteristics of a family, marriage, or congregation if led with this heart.
And then there’s the context of this passage that caused me to want to give him my life again. In Mark 1:33, the whole city of Capernaum gathered to see and follow Jesus. But Jesus didn’t come to create a cult of personality. He didn’t come to have a group of people to praise him and serve him. Rather he came to reveal his Father and serve the world. So, unlike so many leaders in the world and the church, Jesus leaves the crowd behind and goes to teach in other places.
Jesus isn’t just a pattern to replicate or imitate. I hope, like me, that you are drawn to trust Jesus with all your heart, with all your time, with all your relationships because he’s trustworthy to have leadership over them. As I happily place myself under his authority, in the places where I find myself in authority, my character should be like his. I want to love because I’ve been loved. And I want to lead selflessly because I’ve been led selflessly. I want to act like him, I want from the inside out to love and lead as he’s loved and led me.
It’s amazing how we’ll never exhaust the beauty and the loveliness of Christ, even in the everyday moments!