In God’s design, John was entrusted to lead others. He wanted to lead like Christ. The first principle he learnt from the life of Christ was to love those he was called to lead. As the Bible teaches, “God so loved the world… (John 3:16)” John knew he had to be prepared to face the stress that accompanied the call. John could not imagine otherwise, but to love all. Once on hearing John give the commencement address, a parent approached him and said, “It’s so easy for you to tell these graduates you love them, but I think you do. Thank you!” John could not have been more gratified, on hearing that response.
When people in any form of leadership find the gap between themselves and their people widening, it is worth asking if the problem is really the demands of the job or if it’s the coldness of their heart. If we do not love those whom we have been called to lead, then we are not going to be very anxious to come down from the elevated positions we may occupy.
A leader receives from his people what he gives to his people – love and respect. People sense when they are loved by their leaders; when their leaders are drawn to them and desire to be with them. Jesus loved his disciples. He dwelt with them. Familiarity seemed to breed love, not contempt, between Jesus and his followers.
What can we do when our heart begins to cool; when those we lead annoy us rather than lift us? John learnt we have to move toward the problem. We need to spend more time with our people.
Being with the people you lead provides both cure and diagnosis for our heart. When we dive into the midst of those we lead, it should exhilarate us. If it doesn’t, we should resign from our leadership. Do I live for myself or for those I am called to lead?