Jesus looked at him and loved him… Mark 10:21
Nine Leadership Principles
One of my favourite lines in Scriptures is this simple verse where Christ looked at a young man and, knowing he would reject His message, still Christ chose to love him. Jesus spoke with the nameless man of Mark 10 and told him he lacked just “one thing.” In this instance the man was unable to give up his worldly wealth. It was not that money was the core issue; i.e. it was wasn’t his possession of money that was his stumbling block to entering the Kingdom. Rather, his primary issue was that the money was more important to him than a relationship with the living Christ.
The money had possessed his heart to the extent that he could not give ownership of his heart to Christ. He valued the possession of money above all things, and critically, he valued it more than God Himself. The money could have been any issue – any other worldly possession: a relationship, a circumstance or any other possession or idol that stood between the man and God. It would benefit each of us to take a moment to think – is there any “one thing” that could be standing in the way of our being fully Christ’s?
Before this crucial conversation took place, the man had come running up to Christ and fell on his knees before Him. He said, “Good Teacher…what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ responded, “Why do you call Me good?” and went on to say, “No one is good – except God alone” (verses 17-20).
In asking the question, “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus was not implying any lack of goodness in His own life. Instead, the Lord laid a foundation of humility and honoured His Father. In life and in ministry this is an important starting point and wisdom for every Christian leader.
2. Lifestyle Modelling
The man responded to Jesus by stating he had kept the commands of God since he was a small boy. To simply teach others to obey God’s will and Word is not enough – effective Christian leaders must seek to emulate Christ and model Kingdom lifestyle principles to those they are blessed to influence and serve. The Gospel is both spiritual and pragmatic.
3. Foundation of Love
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow Me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. verses 21-22
It is my conviction that Jesus already knew how the man was going to respond and that he would be unable to surrender his life (and worldly possessions) as a disciple for the Kingdom cause, yet the Lord looked at him with great compassion and love. Jesus did not reject him; the man rejected the ministry of Jesus. It is important that when we look at others, we view them through the eyes of Christ and with the heart of our Heavenly Father. Love is not an option for a leader (indeed, for any Believer). God’s love is commanded and we must walk in that command no matter how others treat our leadership mantle. It is not a leader’s portion to choose offense, rather we must forgive others as Christ has forgiven us (see Matthew 22:37-40).
4. Surrender All and Follow Christ
In asking for “one thing,” Jesus in reality is asking for everything. May God grant us the grace to surrender all to His perfect will. God is looking for leaders who will give everything up for Him and give all that they are to Him. God wants every aspect of our lives; we cannot lead others into a place where we ourselves have not lived. The call to “follow Christ” echoes throughout the ages.
As leaders, we acknowledge there is only One perfect leader, Christ Jesus our Lord. Yet, we trust the Holy Spirit to conform us to the image of Christ as we seek to prepare God’s people for works of service and build up the Body of Christ into maturity and unity of faith.
5. Remain Child-Like In Faith
…Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! Verse 24
It does not escape my notice that Jesus addressed the men of God (His closest and dearest disciples/apostles) as children. No matter the size or vastness of the Church or ministry we oversee, and regardless of the extent and scope of the leadership responsibilities we steward by God’s grace, we are first children of God before we function in any other leadership capacity in the Body of Christ. I am not advocating childish behaviour in leaders, but I do feel that sometimes we overlook our priority of simply being His. Busy leaders can easily become entrenched in busy-ness and lose the priority of ministering first to Christ. When we put Him first, all other things in life and ministry fall into place.
6. Maintain a Kingdom Perspective
A second time Christ spoke to His disciples and reiterated, “Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!” verse 24. Jesus didn’t say, “How hard it is to enter the Church.” Christ continually focused His disciples to have a Kingdom mindset. It is important to acknowledge that whilst the Church is God’s agent for change and Kingdom transformation on earth, we must also comprehend as leaders that the Kingdom is bigger than our church or ministry.
7. The Centrality of Christ In Ministry
In absolute amazement the disciples asked the Lord, “Who then can be saved?” and Jesus responded, “With man [made strategies and plans] this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Verses 26-27 [Notation mine]
For effective and fruitful discipleship, leaders must always place Christ at the centre of all life and ministry. Our best plans pale into insignificance when it comes to His best. It is not man-made strategies that will disciple nations – only the blueprints of Heaven will suffice. Furthermore, true Christian leadership ought not to be personality driven; far too often people are placed on a pedestal. Christ and Christ alone deserves the highest place of honour in our lives. Jesus is looking for humble yet courageous ministers who are able to carry His presence and create opportunities for Kingdom advancement.
8. Leadership – The Hundred-Fold Harvest
Peter said that they had left everything to follow Christ, and the Lord replied, “Truly I tell you…no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Verses 29-31
Jesus emphatically stated that His disciples would receive a hundred-fold return for every seed that was sown in sacrificial love for Him both in the present and in the future. Beloved fellow leaders, for every tear we have wept for the Church and for the lost; for all the years of our time we have given in grace to raise others up; for every dollar we have sown for the furtherance of the Kingdom and for every aspect of our lives we have shared for the love of Christ – the Lord Jesus commands the blessing upon us, and the Scripture states it is a hundred-fold harvest. Rejoice, even if you are persecuted for His namesake, for great is our reward in Heaven and on earth! Truly He is worth the giving of our lives.
9. Authority and Servanthood
Jesus taught the first shall be last and the last shall be first. As leaders we are to serve Christ’s purposes in His Body and in the world to bring about godly transformation. We must learn to wash the feet of those we are graced to influence for His glory.
I hope this short teaching is an encouragement to every leader, pastor and apostle who reads it.
God bless you and keep you by His grace.
In Him we are,
Founder/Director, Gatekeepers Global Ministries (GGM)
Co-Founder, Scottish Apostolic Networking Enterprise
Shared From The Elijah List