Leadership -- whether in a family, a church or a business -- is truly about love.
One cannot lead well unless one can truly love well. Despots and tyrants may be in charge, but that is not true leadership. If fear is the basis of your control you are not leading.
Jesus exemplifies the character and characteristics of true leadership most greatly in the way in which He loves the people whom He leads. His love acts as an agent of change. His love wears down the walls that fear has caused us to build up.
When someone comes to understand how much Jesus loves them, His love begins to touch the pain points in their lives. Love leads to hope. Hope that there may just be someone who truly cares, hope that a God who can actually change a heart might possibly want to change theirs. Hope that the pain hasn't been pointless. Hope opens the door to peek outside when Jesus knocks. Hope leads to faith.
Faith brings the hope to reality. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not yet seen. Faith becomes the foundation of the things Jesus wants to build in us as He pours more and more of Himself into us. And that, of course, is an act of incredible love, which completes the circle.
The circle of faith, hope and love allows each one to build upon the other, spiraling ever higher and higher. The amazing thing about the love of God operating in our lives is that it builds wider, deeper and longer even as it is building itself higher and higher.
And that is the kind of love He pours into us so that we can pour it into others. His love is the example of the love we are called to walk in. It is a crazy sort of love that can be felt for people one hasn't even met yet. That kind of love is the basis for all missions activity. It is precisely that sort of a crazy love that compels people to prepare themselves, abandon their native home and friends and relocate to a foreign land with a message of life-changing love. The love of Christ compels us.
I LOVE THAT KIND OF LOVE !!!!!
I look at how that kind of love has been working in my family, and especially in my marriage, and I love the transformation His love has been working. I'm amazed at how much MORE I love my wife now than I did five years ago. Our relationship keeps getting better and better and better. God's love operating within ours, and the spiral continues to lift us higher and higher. I loved her with all my heart then, but God has increased my capacity; and I'm so glad He did.
I look at the kind of love that has been working in my ministry. His love has opened the opportunity to serve so many people. Love has restored hope (theirs and mine). And hope has deepened and invigorated faith (theirs and mine). And the cycle continues to spiral higher and higher.
Every time I think of all the people God is allowing me to touch with His love I am so grateful. It compels me to press on, and to take hold of more and more. Nothing is more fun than serving God with people you love.
Today's verse says a great deal MORE than it first appears. When one considers the characteristics of love-based servant leadership, the depth of this verse can just swirl around your heart and be enjoyed over and over and over again.
EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU, I GIVE THANKS TO GOD.
I do. And I LOVE loving you. Truly.