Is your Messiah made in your image?
Is your Jesus under control?
Is your religion made for your glory, or His?
The Bible is, of course, a plumb line for us all of what is right and wrong. The person of Jesus the perfect example of leadership in the form of prophet, priest, king, pastor etc.
But have we taken the bible and made it sanitised? Have we taken who we think Jesus was, and is, westernised his style, added a soft focus to his behaviour? If so, how has it affected the feel, the impact, the character of our churches today?
Let’s have some fun thinking about what JESUS was really like, things he said and did, and see how it compares to our thoughts of what we want in a leader, or seek to be as a leader. Has the business world infected our thinking? Has the contemporary worlds disrespect for authority allowed us to concentrate more on critiquing leaders, than following them?
Well, this is what Jesus was REALLY like:
– Half the time you couldn’t find him. He was always up early and out on some mountain praying! No mobile, and definitely “unavailable” some of the time. Good leaders are often unavailable, because they prioritise prayer.
– He was straight with people. Called them dull, hypocrites, white washed. Sometime snakes and broods of vipers even! “Greedy & self indulgent”, “You Fool!” one of his stories exclaimed! – He saved his harshest words for those who used religion to abuse.
– He was short term. He only ministered for 3 years! Longevity has some tremendous positives, but short term brings a whole set of benefits for a balanced, whole, life.
– He had another job. “Isn’t this the carpenter?” some said.
– He was more interested in obedience than crowds. He did not see crowds as a sign of success, in fact seemed to do a good job of what I call “reverse church growth” moving from the thousands, til he had next to no-one! Even after his resurrection, only a quarter of those he appeared to made it to the next prayer meeting (read Acts 1-2).
– He simply invited people to “follow me”, then headed off. You had to be a good follower to keep up!
– He was unmarried. “Weird” some would think today.
– He sent rookies out to preach for him. Always risky!
– He told lots of stories. In fact, he said “nothing without a story”, and only explained them to his disciples. Not exactly out to be clear, he seemed more interested in attracting a heart to heaven through curiosity, than touching people’s “understanding” first.
– He had an entourage. A big one.
– He could be a bit rude. Called people dog, snake, grave, sons of hell. Of course, Peter came of worst with the title “SATAN”! (Not exactly in the handbook for developing team members!)
– He did weird stuff. Spat on people, made mud packs, shouted, cried, sighed, groaned – all in the course of prayer and the miraculous.
– He was itinerant. Enough said.
– He messed up the temple shop. Didn’t like people making money off religion.
– He drowned pigs, ate meat, cursed a plant. Sorry.
– He was mysterious. Wouldn’t always give a straight answer. Like a politician, he could answer a question with a question at times.
– He was confrontational. Very.
– He was loving to the poor, needy, helpless, to those trapped in sin. Sinners loved him, cos he loved them. Though still had high ideals of holiness. What a combination?! It is a real struggle to not give one of those two dynamics up.
– He could sound (be?) judgemental. He called down woes on cities and towns and people. Not very PC.
– He talked about throwing people out into darkness, with all it’s weeping and gnashing of teeth. Not heard many preaches on that lately!
– He drove out evil spirits. Often. Lots. Not so common today.
– He had some team close to him, some not so close. Did he have favourites?
– He let a complete traitor on his core team. Not recommended.
– He controlled the weather at times.
– He healed EVERYONE who came to him.
– He sat and watched the offering being taken, taking note of what everyone put in (Matthew 12:42). He then slightly insulted the guy who put most in. I have a feeling I would be lynched if I tried this!
– He was willing to be one of the crowd. Luke 3:21.
– He was a bit rude. “Let the dead bury their own dead” ie, he was making it clear someone was making pathetic excuses. Follow God, and get on with it! hmmm.
– He didn’t rush around. He strolled the countryside.
– He talked about Satan, the devil. Fairly frequently.
– He invited himself to supper, at the house of a stranger, Zacchaeus. (Tried it. Didn’t work).
– He prophesied about end times, earthquakes, wars and famine. Today, we leave that to the cranky ones!
– He spoke of His return in spectacular fashion.
– He openly called lost people “Lost”. I get told not to do that fairly often.
– He told us to carry a sword. Presumably, self defence would one day become an issue!
– He said we would not worship in Jerusalem, but in spirit. Being the capital of worship for the Jewish religion, and worship being one of it’s main sources of income, this was quite a cheeky statement! (John 4:21+).
– He died for those he led. Do I?
WOW! What a leader! So much of what he did, how he spoke, how he interacted with His world would be considered ill advised, bad practice, over the top, or under done. Yet there you go – that’s JESUS! The Life that changed the world and whose teachings shaped the world today.
So how will His model affect your leadership?