Alex Knapp wrote an article in Forbes magazine about “Five Leadership Lessons From Jean-Luc Picard”. He followed that by writing “Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk”. Talk about a way to get my attention! Discussing leadership, Star Trek, with a little spirituality thrown in. And that got me thinking about spiritual leadership as demonstrated by Jesus.
The bullet points of the Picard article were:
- Speak to people in the language they understand. (Or, it’s okay to threaten a Klingon.)
- When you’re overwhelmed, ask for help.
- Always value ethical actions over expedient ones.
- Challenge your team to help them grow.
- Don’t play it safe–seize opportunities in front of you.
As I read those, I thought of how Mr. Knapp could have been talking about Jesus instead of one of the captains of the spaceship Enterprise. Follow my train of thought and see what I mean.
The first point is speaking to people in a way that connects with them. There’s Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, clearly defining Christian thought for thousands of “regular” people. Or talking to the woman at the well. In contrast, He could go into the temple and expound on Scripture better than the scholars, even as a child.
The Pharisees were used to deriding others for their imagined spiritual shortcomings. Jesus could give that right back to the Pharisees, in their own terms, calling them things like “vipers”. Not to punish, but to awaken them to their own shortcomings and their own need to be right with God. And He could act like what seemed at the time as being a crazy man, storming into the temple, grabbing a whip and chasing the money changers out, overturning the money changing tables. Speak in ways people will understand.
The second point had me thinking in two different directions. We see Jesus in the garden, praying just before the process that took Him to the the Cross. And He prays, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”, in Luke 22:42. Some have suggested that, as a man, Jesus wanted out. My thought, initially stated by our founding pastor, is that the description of Jesus’ time praying in the garden includes being surrounded by swarms of demons. Their assault on His spirit seems to be so massive on Jesus the man that it generates enough fear to get Him to sweat blood. A known medical condition. The attempt was to emotionally paralyze Jesus to keep Him from fulfilling Scripture to save mankind from eternal damnation. Jesus, knowing that and knowing He was overwhelmed, asked for the Father’s help to get past that and continue on to the Cross. Remember, He had to go through all this as a man, in order for it to be valid in bringing salvation to man.
The other direction the second point took me in was our opportunities for salvation. Mark 16:15 says, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” God’s plan for salvation wasn’t just Jesus going to the Cross and that was it. Salvation brings about an individual relationship with God for each of us. And John 3:16 tells us that it’s for whoever believes. There’s also an individual participation in the process. And it’s a choice given to every individual and every generation. In one way or another. But Jesus, as a man, could only share that with so many. Jesus the man had limitations of time and location. And the Father’s plan included one on one sharing of the good news. An overwhelming situation for one man. Which is why Jesus asked for help from His disciples, their disciples, etc. And, eventually, through the Word, from us. What a spectacular privilege we’ve been given!
There’s plenty there to chew on, for now. We’ll continue with point three in the second part of this series. In the meantime, think about how you communicate with others and when you ask for help. How do those things make you effective for Christ?