4 Qualities of Leadership from Jesus
#4QualitiesofLeadershipfromJesus is the podcast for August 11, 2019, Steven Covey holds nothing over Jesus in business models. Listen here FREE and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Luke12 #Leadership #Mission #Trust #Service #DaleCarnegie #StevenCovey
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For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 8/11/2019 The 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 12:32-48.
There are over 10,000 books about leadership on Amazon. Usually, leadership is judged by its results. There are some real classics in leadership reading: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “ 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, “Tribes” by Seth Godin and more, in fact over 9,997 more, at least on Amazon.
I remember when my friend, Fr. Pat Gaza, called me and said, “Hey, Stephen Covey has a new book that he is introducing. He is speaking at the University of Notre Dame, do you want to come with me?” “Absolutely,” I said.
So, we went to hear Covey introduce his book “The 8th Habit of Highly Effective People”, the sequel to his previously mentioned book. Covey gave an hours long presentation to tell us that the one constant in the world is change. He then went on to tell us that there is one constant that helps leaders handle change: a solid moral center. He said, a solid moral center is what keeps us from jumping on changes that are fads and are not good for our organization. They help us filter out the garbage and keep us focused on where our energy should be.
After the presentation and then the obligatory book pitch, Fr. Pat looked at me and said, “We learned this in seminary.” Yes, we did. We learned it from Jesus. Jesus lays out the relationship between community and authority in his parables today from the Gospel of Luke.
Let me introduce the author, Jesus Christ. He is the CEO of an organization that began its humble beginnings in a manger in a small town called Nazareth. After recruiting 12 men to work with him, he transformed his organization into a 2.8 billion member operation with satellite offices across the globe. His firm has stood the test of time and it is listed as the largest religion in the world. He has been the leader of this movement since, well it seems like time began, but it has only been 2 thousand years! Without further ado, here are the principles of leadership from the one, the only, Jeeeeeesuuuuuus Chriiiiiiist!
Seriously, it is nice to get some practical application information from Jesus. We can see the first thing that we need to know about leadership in Luke 12:32-34. It is the Father in Heaven’s pleasure to give you the kingdom of God. So, you are hired for God’s mission. You are important to God’s mission. What? You didn’t think of it that way? You thought that giving you the kingdom was a gift that gave relief? Well, if it was, then the parables that follows this gift would not tell us how a leader of the kingdom will come to see if the servants are actually working at the endeavor.
So, the first thing we have to get straight is that there is a mission and we are called, not to just benefit from the mission, but to be a part of the mission. We are to sell all our possessions, give alms, and get our provision from God. We have come to interpret this as putting all we possess at God’s disposal and have service to the poor and needy front and center to our mission. So, the first thing we need to know is that good leadership provides and articluates a mission.
Secondly, good leadership enlists others to share responsibility for the mission. In verse 35 Jesus says that a leader will leave and put others in charge of carrying out the mission. He will come back to check on them, but a good leader needs to trust in the people he or she enlists to be a part of the mission. We can see this by just the implicit, “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning,” not as people who are reclining at the wedding feast, but as people who are serving at the wedding feast. So, God has entrusted his mission to us, his church. He respects us and trusts us make sure that all is running as he would want it run while he is away. Of course, that is the kind of community we ought to be: dedicated servants who have God’s mission as our guide. It is our moral center in changing times, as Covey would say. So, secondly, good leadership trusts others with the mission.
Third, good leadership will not ask anyone to do what they themselves are not willing to do. In verse 37, when the master returns and finds those serving the wedding banquet awake, he then serves them. We are currently living in a situation where CEO’s are making 300 times what someone on the shop floor is making. The climate of CEOs is to fly on private planes, be served in separate dining rooms, have private cars, big offices with amenities they would never allow others in the company to have. The current and persistent model is that a CEO has risen to the top, dresses like a mantle piece that should never get dirty, and is someone who is too important to do what the janitor does. This is NOT Christian leadership.
The idea of a servant leader is shocking to even Peter. He asks the question, “Does this kind of leadership apply to us?” in verse 41. You mean the master needs to be willing to strap on an apron and serve drinks and meals to others? Yes, a leader should be willing to get dirty. I find most of the priestly dress that we have out there that is so pretty and pristine unusable for priestly work. I go to hospitals, bars, houses of people in need, etc. An ICU can be a pretty unclean place. So, it makes no sense for me to wear pristine business slacks, French cuffed shirts with cufflinks and suit jackets that need to be dry cleaned. Give me some clothes that I can work in, man. I need pockets, durable material pants, something easy to clean. I need clothes that let me serve those who serve. Leadership is about serving those who serve.
Fourth and last, leadership needs to hold people accountable. This does not mean being a jerk, it means asking if what the person is doing actually fulfills the mission. I find it a source of pride and disobedience that people get angry at God for holding them accountable. We act like we don’t sin and God should just put up us when we leave his mission behind. How does the work get done without accountability?
Here is where the community portion of Jesus’ message is important. If we, as a community, are focused on the mission of serving others in the Kingdom of God, then we would be willing to step aside in true humility to change aprons. We would not begrudge God his rightful place as one who holds us accountable. No one likes accountability, especially when we are not doing what we should. Yet, that is the role of the leader.
A healthy church community will realize that accountability is important. If we are doing the mission as we should, then accountability is a joy. If we are not, then it is something to be dreaded. Members of a mission oriented community will set their egos aside and accept the new aprons, leaving the old one behind. A leader needs to be able to handle both, the rejoicing of the dutiful, mission oriented servants and the disappointment of the not so mission oriented ones.
So, to recap, a good leader
- Calls people to the mission of God.
- Trusts people with the mission.
- Serves those who serve.
- Hold others accountable to the mission.
Now, of course, our mission is to save the world. That needs leadership. So, let’s do it. Amen.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian