Just finished a book about leadership and followership by John Perkins and Shane Claiborne titled “Follow Me to Freedom.” The biggest idea that stood out to me was that a good leader leads out of the pain he feels for the people who are following him (or her). When your passion turns into a person- their character and experiences, and especially they’re pain- then you are at a place to lead.
Who better to look to on this than Jesus?
“He was despised and rejectedby men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted withgrief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”
-Isaiah 53:3-5 (ESV)
Our Savior knows pain. He chose to enter into a world permeated with pain. He not only bore the pain of rejection, but “he has borne our griefs.” Before you were born, before you even knew your pain, he bore it- ultimately, on the cross where “he was pierced for our transgressions.” In a strange twist, this climactic act of cruelty is the very event that opens the door to peace and healing for people- the people who were Christ’s passion.
I haven’t processed all of this yet- it’s all very fresh in my mind and heart. But, God is starting to let me know that I can’t expect to lead or have influence in the lives of people until I know and share their pain. yikes! That sounds messy and quite possibly dangerous! It’s not enough to be passionate about a cause or issue, although that’s a great start. God has called us to love Him and love people. His passion was for people, and ours should be as well. Our life is to be about relationship. And a huge part of relationships, as shown in the work of Christ, is deciding how we will deal with and respond to pain.
This Christmas, I’ll be reflecting on the God who chose to send his son into a world where he would experience great pain- for our sake! May Christ who chose to expose himself to real brokenness and hurt be the guiding example in my life, especially as I interact with my students! A leader worth following knows and shares the pain of the people!
Here’s a link to a Chris Tomlin song called “Mighty is the Power of the Cross” that includes some of the Scripture above 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8sw-g6P544