They’re called the Laws of Leadership, the principals of influence that every executive needs to know. The Law of Process: in order to lead tomorrow, we must learn today. Keep improving. The Law of Intuition: evaluations should be based on intangibles. Decide beyond the facts. The Law of Big Mo’: change requires momentum. Get things moving and good things happen. (John C. Maxwell)
After Jesus predicts his first Passion, Peter objects to the suffering of the cross. After the second prediction, the disciples argue about who’s the greatest. And after the third prediction in today’s text from Mark, James and John prop their feet up on the desk, ready to recline in their executive chairs of glory.
What does Jesus want to teach us about leadership?
Mark 10:35-45 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
It begins with selflessness, the commitment to others.
Christian leaders must act contrary to the world powers of oppression.
The leaders worth following lead with their behavior.
What does Jesus want us to know about leadership?
Most of us strike a bargain with God early on like the disciples. I’ll leave the warm comfort of family, drop the fishing nets of industry and abandon the shores of familiarity if there’s a retirement bonus waiting at the end, if there’s a empty leather chair waiting at the table of influence in Jerusalem, if there’s a reserved parking space in heaven.
Ever since Adam and Eve, says Henry Nouwen, “The long painful history of the church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led.”
The God’s honest truth is that there are no Christian leaders, only faithful followers of followers. People who sacrifice without compensation, who enjoy the daily call of giving themselves away in the service of others, who practice the Law of Love.
Shaya was a special needs child. One day, he and his dad walked by a baseball game that was underway. Shaya wondered, “Do you think they’ll let me play?” Expecting the other boys to refuse sharing a uniform with someone handicapped, Dad asked anyway. To his surprise, one of the fielders said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning… we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.”
By the bottom of the ninth inning however, Shaya’s team had scored and scored again. With two outs and the bases loaded, the winning run was on base and Shaya was on deck. When he stepped to the plate, the pitcher recognized the moment and lobbed the ball in softly. Shaya swung clumsily and barely made contact, a slow roller right back to the pitcher for the last out.
But the pitcher threw the ball way over the first baseman’s head. “Shaya, run to first!” the crowd screamed. He had never run this far in his life. “Shaya, run to second!” Wide-eyed and startled, he stammered on. The right fielder finally gathered the ball to end the game. But he too intentionally threw it way over the third baseman’s head. “Shaya, run to third!” The opposing short stop helping him find the bases. “Shaya, all the way!” Exhausted, he stepped on home plate a hero. His dad stood in the stands crying. (Rabbi Paysach Krohn)
“…whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”