Getting Both The Credit And The Blame You Deserve As The Big Boss
Ed, my old neighbor, told me last week that great leaders have extraordinary DNAs. They naturally lead their firm or organization, so well, that the bottom line is more than in the black; it is big enough to keep everyone happy. As a retired pastor, Ed said that even, I, should recognize it is only a few exceptional pastors that can keep the pews full, the offering plate overflowing, and the people happy in the congregation.
According to Ed, the best leaders or CEOs, have a vision and lead in the direction that contends with all the competition and challenges of our modern world. They gather around them, other motivated followers, and capable helpers. They are dynamic individuals with the charisma of a superpower leader, able to get impressive results.
I argued with Ed that although the CEO is the highest-ranking person in a company or institution, his or her authority and leadership has its limits. The strongest CEO is as weak as his most ineffective employee. The best CEO can be stalled, stopped, and stuck in a straight-jacket of circumstances beyond his control. I challenged Ed that the best leader in Biblical teaching is one who leads like the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
My old neighbor rejected the idea that a good shepherd could be extraordinary. I agreed that leading, feeding, watering, caring for, and protecting sheep was not exception work but laying down your life for your sheep was far beyond what many were willing to do. Ed does not like sheep but favors beef cattle so I asked him if he would die to save his beef cattle. He answered in a heartbeat, “Not if I could help it.”
Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, did not lay down his life for sheep, but for all people who are sinners. Jesus was about shepherding sinners to the forgiveness of God. He fed them God’s word in his preaching and teaching. He showed God’s power and love in miracles and healings to demonstrate his identity as God’s Son, the Messiah, and Savior.
The Bible says, “Christ Jesus, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!”
Many blame their pastor when the pews become emptier, the offering plate is barely bottom covered, and the congregational members are pessimistic. The pastor is not the CEO of a congregation. Jesus Christ is the head, heart, and brains of the church. The clergy person is the under-shepherd of Jesus. He or she is Christ called, trained, ordained or certified as Christ’s overseer for Christ’s sheep.
The clergy person, shepherds, members of his parish as Christ’s sheep not as his own flock. He shepherds to protect and feed them with the Word of God in the example of Christ’s love for sinners. Jesus did not lord it over sinners entrusted to him but willingly died to save them. Jesus’ bottom line was in the red, shedding his blood to purify sinners from all their sin.