Jesus, the leader who cared

We now come to the third of the three components of our CORE Model for living and leading like Jesus. Although the care component is addressed third, it is of no less importance than the lead and develop components.  From the life of Jesus we find Him leading, developing, and now caring for those He led.

If we had to choose just one passage in the Bible that succinctly tells God’s very personal care for people, one would be hard pressed not to select the Twenty-Third Psalm. In this treasure from the heart of David, we find eloquently stated what it means to have God as our Shepherd.  But now we turn to how Jesus cared as a living example of Psalm 23.

When we think about Jesus as a leader who cared, several pictures from stories in the Gospels should come to mind. Which pictures come to your mind? Jesus valuing the little children? Jesus calming the Disciples in the boat during the storm? Jesus committing His mother to John while on the cross?  How He related to people, His soothing words, His gentle touch, His loving glance, all teach us of the Savor’s care for those He encountered and led.

Jesus’ care and concern is equally seen in His cleansing the temple so that sincere worshippers were not abused. His harsh words toward religious leaders who were misleading people were an act of care.  And yes, His passion to take upon Himself the sin of the world was the ultimate sign of caring.  Jesus is clearly a leader who cared far more than any earthly leader.  His example is most worthy of our emulation.

In many cultures the caring function is viewed as a leadership weakness. It is something that mothers do with children, but fathers are expected to be the real leaders who teach the toughness of “manhood.”  Leaders perceive that acts of care could mar their image of being able to act with authority.  Whether the picture of a “stiff upper lip” or dispensing decisive orders or never allowing emotions to surface is culturally normative, none of these or other characteristics are consistent with the Bible or Jesus.  He was approachable by all; He rarely had to give orders; and He cried.  Here we find our model for caring.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 1-12), Jesus turned on end conventional wisdom about leadership. His teaching identified what was considered worthy of blessing from God for the masses and leaders alike: being poor in spirit, mourning, gentleness, hunger for righteousness, being merciful, being pure in heart, peacemaking, and being persecuted.  To live and lead like Jesus we must understand and apply these caring functions personally and with those we serve.

What questions come to your mind when you consider care giving as a leader? If they are not addressed in the next three blogs under the categories of knowing, providing, and protecting, please consider this blog a place to explore the answers to your questions.

Next blog: Jesus Cared by Knowing People

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