What we learn from the Greatest Leader in History

What We Learn From the Greatest Leader in History, Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash
What We Learn From the Greatest Leader in History, Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

A substantial part of the success of many institutions rises and falls on its leadership. Entities like countries, teams, companies, families, non-profits, and churches.

And sometimes even in our own individual lives when we need leading for direction, purpose, goals, dreams, vocations, talents, and so on.

So, as with any other position or title, leaders come in many shapes and sizes.

There are average leaders, good leaders, not-so-good leaders, and great leaders. But there’s no category for perfect ones. Because no one’s without faults and downfalls—with one exception.

Greatest Leader Who Ever Lived

Only one leader in history was perfect. The greatest leader of all time.

He painted a picture of leadership we haven’t seen on the canvas of another human since. Look at some of His leadership qualities: 

  • wise
  • kind
  • humble
  • gracious
  • merciful 
  • servant
  • sinless
  • above reproach 
  • no evil dwelled in Him
Only one leader in history was perfect. The greatest #leader of all time. He painted a picture of #leadership we haven’t seen on the canvas of another human since. @FridayKaren Click To Tweet

His name? Jesus Christ. The Son of God. The King of kings and Lord of lords.

Servant Leadership by the Greatest Leader

Jesus came from the splendor and glory of heaven. Yet, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He hung out with the poor, destitute, social outcasts, and sinners. He even made time for children and never thought they were only in the way.

Jesus came from heaven's splendor. Yet, He washed His disciples feet and hung out with the poor, social outcasts, and sinners. He even made time for children and never thought they were only in the way. @FridayKaren #servantleadership Click To Tweet

Jesus not only waged war against evil, but also against neutrality to spiritual and moral beliefs. Christ annoyed the religious leaders and dignitaries of His day when He redefined what makes a great leader as He states here:

“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 ESV

Furthermore, looking at the life and ministry of Christ, we learn how He never compromised the truth in order to love others. Not once. Instead, He loved others with the truth.

Killing the Example of His Leadership

Although Christ was the greatest leader in the history of the world, they killed Him. Before we judge too sternly, we kill the example of His leadership:

  1. When we choose political correctness over Jesus correctness.
  2. Or when we make spirituality about religion instead of an intimate and personal relationship with God.
  3. Or when we desire to be great leaders, but fail to take our cues from the greatest leader of all time.

Yes, Jesus’ destiny was always to die a criminal’s death to give everyone eternal life who calls on His name as Savior and Lord. But He rose again. And He gladly laid down His life for me and for you—the greatest love (John 15:13).

Modeling the Greatest Leadership Skills

What We Learn From the Greatest Leader in History, Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

What if we let God paint the picture of leadership on our heart and life? What if we asked the heavenly Father to help us model the leadership skills of Jesus?

And what if we served others in humility, dispensed grace and mercy to those we influence, and loved people without compromising God’s truth?

Finally, what if we strived to die to ourselves and to resemble Christ—the only hope to live above reproach and to become a great leader?

*Featured photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash/Top photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash/bottom photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash.

What if we served others in humility, dispensed grace and mercy to those we influence, and loved people without compromising God's truth? @FridayKaren #servantleadership Click To Tweet

Karen Friday

Whether the spoken or written word, Karen thrives in moving an audience to experience laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection. She not only possesses an affection for words (just ask her family), but she also cherishes God’s Word. Karen is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles with a mission to know Jesus more and make Him known. She contributes to several national sites while she works on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. And she considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with her blog community, Hope is Among Us.

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28 comments

    1. Thank you, Melissa. So kind of you to say. I pray we let God paint the picture of leadership on our heart and life, and help us model the leadership skills of Jesus.

    1. They sure are, Ava. The one I struggle with the most is always taking my leadership cues from Jesus. Sometimes it’s hard to be a servant leader. But it’s one of the top things about leadership Jesus modeled for us. The one I guard the most against (just because I hate it) is choosing political correctness over Jesus correctness. Thanks for commenting.

  1. Karen, thank you for sharing this outstanding message on our Heart”wings” readers’ nook today where it can be enjoyed by your sisters in Christ as we fellowship there. I love this: “Furthermore, looking at the life and ministry of Christ, we learn how He never compromised the truth in order to love others. Not once. Instead, He loved others with the truth.” The word “with” is so significant and powerful. Amen! j

    1. Thanks, Joyce. People like to say “love wins.” While that may be true in some cases, I would say, “love and truth win together.” Jesus never told anyone to go on sinning or just living however they wanted. Yes, He expressed His love for them, sin and all, but He also taught the truth and how real love for others keeps love and truth married to each other, never separating the two. I hope and pray the Lord helps me love people with truth.

  2. Me too, Barb. I pray we strive to die to ourselves and to resemble Christ—the only hope to live above reproach and to become a great leader.

  3. Karen, how we need to look more to Jesus for our leadership model. A servant leader is difficult for us to embrace and yet we are the recipients of so much grace, love and forgiveness from the most powerful leader ever, Jesus! Wonderful message!

  4. Killing the example of Jesus’ leadership was a phrase that convicted me! I love the points you make here and the challenge to follow Jesus’ leadership skills. It certainly gives me something to think about in order to apply this today!

    1. Reflecting on if our choices really do kill the example of Jesus’ leadership is convicting for all of us, Emily. May we carefully consider how to give life to the leadership example Jesus left us.

    1. Thanks, Martha! Jesus not only waged war against evil, but also against neutrality to spiritual and moral beliefs. Christ annoyed the religious leaders and dignitaries of His day when He redefined what makes a great leader. I pray we embrace His attitude and new definition of a leader.

  5. What a good challenge for us. I think its natural for us as Christians to model ourselves after Jesus, but modeling His leadership qualities, maybe not so much. This may be especially true for those of us with leadership roles in vocations where Jesus isn’t in the business plan. I’m in a vocation like that and it’s easy to overlook Jesus when it comes to business planning and management. But what a great leader He would be in some of our workplaces! His focus, His compassion, His humility, so much. I will be thinking about this during my days at work. Thank you, Karen.

    1. You’ve given us something to think about, Stephen. Christians in vocations “where Jesus isn’t in the business plan.” That can be the case in most secular jobs. So we consider how to model His leadership attributes in our everyday lives. Good thoughts! Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

  6. Jesus’s leadership model is my ideal. He came to serve, not be served. He cared about pleasing God first. Excellent points, Karen!!

    1. Jessica, I pray His leadership model becomes all our ideal and goal to strive for. His pleasing the Father is seen in how He went about His Father’s business, not busyness that often fills our own lives. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  7. Oh yeah, Jesus is THE leadership example to follow, to be sure. But “it ain’t easy” as they say! (LOL) Here’s to always looking up to the perfect example, and praying for grace along the way to try and be more like Him.

    Bless you, Karen. I love your heart for God – you are the “real deal.”

    1. It isn’t easy by a long shot, Lisa. Yet, the thing I love about our God is how He not only calls us to certain standards, but He also equips us and helps us obtain them. And thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. I pray to be and stay the real deal! Feel the same about you! God bless!

    1. Yvonne, what’s life or the Christian journey without a few challenges along the way?! 🙂 But, yes, may the Lord help us follow the example of Jesus and walk as He walked.

  8. I love this: “Jesus not only waged war against evil, but also against neutrality to spiritual and moral beliefs. ”

    He didn’t call us to an easy way. Thanks, Karen, and God bless!

  9. A very convicting challenge: “Finally, what if we strived to die to ourselves and to resemble Christ—the only hope to live above reproach and to become a great leader?”
    Another good post. Thank you, Karen!

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