Focus: Right conduct
Matthew 20:27-28 (NKJV) …And whoever wants to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
So much of the Word of God is in direct opposition to what we are taught in our culture. We are told: be a winner. Be number one. Live to lead…and so on. Not everyone can be a leader and not everyone is cut out to lead. We can’t all be leaders. But, it isn’t that no one should lead, either. Whether we are meant to be a leader—or not, there is much to be learned about having the right attitude and spirit—and the ability to conduct ourselves in the right manner—whatever we do.
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As we consider ‘leadership’—it’s clear there are many kinds of leaders. There are numerous philosophies about leadership and how it should be done. Some people spend years of their life studying world history and the ways various leaders have led. As they study, they learn that sometimes leadership has led to corruption and dominance. Many leaders started out with great ideals, but failed to follow through with what they originally set out to accomplish. Others were changed by ‘power’. Some people got too much control, and made life miserable for the ones they were supposed to be helping. Many leaders failed to lead. Others failed while leading…for a variety of reasons.
When Jesus came to earth, He taught a whole different approach to leadership than what the world had ever seen. He was a unique leader who led by example. In the time period Jesus lived here, it was common for most people to walk to where they were going. They often wore sandals or went barefoot. The dirt roads and paths were dusty, so people’s feet didn’t stay clean very long. It was typical for servants to wash the feet of guests who arrived at a household—as a way of offering refreshment and hospitality—but also for practical matters of hygiene. Some hosts washed the feet of their guests as a sign of humility.
When Jesus began His public ministry, He chose twelve men to accompany Him. As He picked them, He bid them to ‘follow’ Him…and they did. Jesus chose His disciples from among the working class. They were average men who said, ‘yes’, to His invitation. These men went with Jesus where He walked. They observed His actions and listened to His teaching.
One of the most profound things Jesus did to communicate His style of leadership—was wash His disciple’s feet. This was extremely humiliating for His followers. Jesus was the leader—they were the followers. It would have been right for them to wash His feet. But, Jesus insisted on washing the feet of His disciples to illustrate an important quality He desired for His followers to possess.
Not all of the disciples wanted to be leaders. Some of them had aspirations for leadership—but others didn’t. Jesus knew that. But, He had a standard He wanted all of the disciples to adopt, whether they were destined for leadership—or not. He wanted them to see themselves as ‘the least’—and He wanted them to be willing to serve.
You may have some failures in your background and you might be at a crossroad where your career is concerned. If you are employed—you could be frustrated with your current position because it is unfulfilling or not meeting your needs. Maybe you ‘picked’ a career that sounded good, but it didn’t turn out to be what you thought—and now you don’t know where you’re headed.
As you consider your own future and what God’s plan for you might be—it’s important to become acquainted with examples of ‘right conduct’ in the Word of God—and how they could apply to your situation.
Whatever God opens to you—remember the model of the Master, who came to earth to serve the needs of mankind. While you’re waiting for more revelation about what’s next, search for meaning in the words Jesus spoke. Ask God to open the eyes of your understanding so you don’t miss anything.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to follow Him. The disciples who Jesus called to join Him were all doing ‘something else’ at the time. Some of them were fishermen—who continued to ‘fish’. Others left their careers behind. When you open yourself to truly become what God wants you to be, you might be surprised at what happens. As the Holy Spirit enlightens your mind—a job that was mundane in the past could suddenly become meaningful and amusing.
The important thing is that you are willing to serve in whatever capacity you are called to. Take joy in doing things the way Jesus would—whatever you do. Live according to the right ways Jesus exemplified, and you will never go wrong.
Declaration: I will find new strength by studying the scriptures with an open heart. As I follow Jesus’ example of servanthood in my daily life—the right doors will open, the wrong ones will close—and my future will be blessed.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.