This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.
Have you seen the new movie Son of God? It’s an awesome display of interaction between leader and follower.
One of the most poignant bible verses regarding leadership is where Christ turns to His disciples and asks, “Who do the people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27-30)
A simple, yet significant question which should be asked by all leaders to those they are leading, whether first degree followers such as the disciples, second degree followers such as the apostles and believers, or third degree followers such as the Pharisees (yes, our enemies follow us, as well).
The Question: “Who do the people say that I am?”
You Are a Leader
You are a leader, therefore, you have followers. Who do they say that you are? Everyone who follows you, everyone you lead, everyone in your circle of influence and, possibly, everyone in their circle of influence, refers to you in some manner.
From your pet to your pet’s vet, your mother-in-law to your mother-in-law’s hairstylist, your virtual assistant to your virtual assistant’s assistant.
In your life, whether near or far, first or last name basis, direct contact or by virtue of association, these people have defined you, pigeonholed you, categorized you, promoted or demoted you, simply by what they call you.
The Question is this: “Who do they say that I am?
On Being Named
The Lion of Judah received several monikers in response: John the Baptizer, Elijah, a prophet, and so on.
He then turned the question inside out, exposing their sub-consciousness, asking this:
“What about you? Who do you say that I am?”
Gutsy Peter nailed it, “You are the Christ, the Messiah!”
The Finisher of our Faith’s response to Peter: “The Father must have told you. No one else knew.”
My Own Personal Experience
Now, this is by no means, a comparison, but recently, I serendipitously learned what “they” (the “they” being those as referenced above) call me.
A reporter from our local newspaper wrote about me, calling me a slew of predictable names, self-proclaimed names that I had keenly persuaded my community to call me: writer, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, trustee (of a community college), and volunteer.
But, there was another term she used, one that wasn’t included in my marketing repertoire.
When she called me this name, like Peter, she nailed it! And, I knew that the FATHER had given it to her because no one else had verbalized it, certainly not me. It was a truth I may have realized it; but, never actualized, never embraced.
Assuming that she was using the term in its most positive connotation, yet intrigued in her so doing, I picked up the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I said – with half of my accusatory voice implying a TV courtroom libel suit, the other half venerating as I sensed an addendum to my dossier had just been signed off by the Creator of the Universe.
“What did you just call me?”
She was caught off guard; perplexed even.
“Did I get something wrong?”
You see, as I am constantly cheering her on for the fantastic, professional, neutral journalist that she is, she had never imagined such an encounter as this…from me.
Before I could answer, she began reciting her adjectives.
“Yes,” I interjected, “you said all that, but you said something else.”
She drew a blank. So much pressure!
Finally, I said, “You called me a ‘civic activist.’”
She explained with the sincerity of encouraging intentions,
“Of course I did. That’s what you are. That’s how I see you. That’s how I’ve always seen you.”
It was the sound of her voice traveling through the airwaves, but it was the Voice which I heard, just as Christ must have heard as He read Peter’s lips. The Voice said
“You are truly blessed. It was I who told her what you are because it is I who created you. You are a leader; a civic activist, a compassionate advocate who loves your fellow-man and yourself equally, and who loves Me with all of your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.”
And with His gift of infinite instruction, He said “Now walk ye in it!”
Getting Ready For Your Next Level
Has the LORD blessed you with such a revelation? Do you sense He is preparing to do so? If your answer is yes, I would suggest you grab the safety bar, and hold on!
Your leadership feathers, having been clipped by the dull shears of unawareness, are growing in. And you are being instructed to “walk ye in it!”
Now let’s contemplate a few questions:
- Who are your followers: first, second and third degree levels?
- Who do they say that you are?
- Have you even asked or are you waiting – like Chicken Little – for the words to fall out of the sky?
- Who do you say that you are?
- Who does the FATHER say that you are?
And finally, do you walk yet in it?
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