This article is not a thesis about how Mary conceived Jesus, whether or not He really existed or His demise on the cross. It is sufficient to say that I am a strong and firm believer in the man called Christ Jesus and the values and principles He taught in the Bible and that I do my best to live by them every day.
In my opinion, Jesus was one of, if not the most, influential people to ever walk the face of this earth. There is so much to His life and personhood to explore that it would take years to dissect all the layers. For this commentary, I will focus on his leadership and what I have learned from studying Him.
Of all the characteristics he displayed as a leader, today I will focus on sacrifice. Great examples of sacrificial leadership were demonstrated globally by frontline workers who helped the population fight the COVID-19 virus while risking their health. Simply put, a sacrificial leader puts others before themselves.
The dictionary definition of sacrifice is “the surrender or destruction of something desired for the sake of a higher or more pressing claim.”
Jesus’ life was a lesson in love. He showed love for His heavenly Father by sacrificing His own desires to do what His Father wanted Him to do. And love for his followers to the point of giving up His own life for His friends in the Ultimate Sacrifice.
Instead of usurping His authority as a leader, Jesus exemplified servanthood when He washed the feet of His followers to accentuate the principle that anyone who wants to be great must make himself the servant of all.
He was a compassionate leader with a heart for the people. He empowered them with His message and enabled them to think at a higher level to improve their living conditions. Ritesh Daryani explains what that looks like in a modern organization.
“It is a myth that a sacrificial leader forgets about his own aspirations and slogs for the team. On the contrary sacrificial leader does his job of developing others so well and looking at their needs that… he grows in that position, and people recognize him as a great leader in the organization.”
Sacrificial leaders empower their followers to tap into and unlock their hidden potential, then deploy them to influence and impact their families, organizations and communities.
“Sacrificial leader to me is the one who invests time in developing others, fights for team members’ interests keeping in mind organizational goals and priorities, goes out of the way to help team members, and also provides resources to the team to meet overall team goals.” Daryani says.
A true leader equips people for life, not just for work; that is evident in the leadership characteristics of Jesus.
Here are some other principles that I’ve learned from studying the life of Jesus:
He lived a life of conviction, not one catering to public opinion
His leadership was exponential – it is still impacting us in the 21st century
He prioritized quiet time – prayer and meditation
He had a laser-like focus on his vision and mission
He developed His followers well to continue the work He started after He left
Bringing transformation to people’s lives is a process, not an overnight accomplishment
No matter how good your intentions are, you will be criticized
Forgiveness is a necessary element in leadership
Make LOVE the foundation of your leadership values
Leaders who lead from a place of love are fearless