A leader’s priorities can keep the good from becoming the enemy of the great. Read Luke 12:13-21.
Jesus’ words were so life changing that people followed Him where ever He went. At times the audience asked Him questions which triggered His teaching on a specific topic. At other times someone in the crowd would ask Jesus to use His authority to resolve a situation. On one such occasion someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus did not give the man advice on how to resolve his situation with his brother but Jesus addressed the real issue that would affect the rest of the man’s life, the man’s priorities.
As important as success, security, and significance are there is something far more meaningful. It is possible for a leader to achieve their wildest dreams for success and significance and still lose everything in the end. This does not mean success, security and significance are always bad but according to Jesus’ story there is a danger if these priorities dominate a leader’s thoughts and actions. Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul.”
The way Jesus’ story ended warned against the attitude of greed and pointed out the futility of priorities that are not in line with God’s will. For Christian leaders the highest priority should be to bring recognition, glory, and honor to God rather than just pleasure to themselves. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” When a leader has that purpose in mind their priorities tend to sort themselves, and bring focus on what will bring the greatest recognition to God.
Write down your top five life priorities. How many of them focus exclusively on your personal benefit or gain? How many of your top five priorities focus on bringing glory to God (even if you do not receive financial gain or recognition)? Wise leaders can learn from Jesus’ teaching and discern bad priorities from good priorities from great priorities.
Every leader will be pressured to focus on the urgent over the important. Effective leaders do not replace well-planned activity with chaos or frantic busyness. Read Luke 10:38-42.
As part of His final ministry trip, on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus stopped at the home of some friends, Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha. This wouldn’t be a long stay but He was simply taking time for a few moments of R&R and a meal. By now wherever Jesus went He wasn’t traveling alone so when Jesus showed up for dinner so did a lot of other people. It is not difficult to imagine how much stress Jesus’ arrival put on the women of the home who were charged with preparing dinner.
The effective leader does not ignore the needs of their core team. Read Mark 6:30-32.
Jesus’ public ministry was at its peak. He could not personally get to all the towns in Israel so He sent His disciples out in teams of two to the more remote villages to tell the story God had assigned to Him. Jesus’ disciples returned from their assignment and were eager to report the results to Jesus, but they found it impossible to report without interruptions from the crowds. Every leader has had teammates in their office that needed time dedicated specifically to them but one emergency after another or one interruption after another created a situation where that teammate felt unimportant and unappreciated.
A servant-leader’s rights will decrease as their responsibilities increase. Matthew 20:25-28.
In his notes in The Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell discusses something he calls the “leadership pyramid.”
Are you allowing your values to be shaped by what will most further you finances or influence? (195-2)
Leaders must always be watchful that they do not put their trust in expendable commodities. Read Matthew 19:16-30.
As Jesus’ popularity grew among the Jewish people a few individuals wanted to join Him and become a disciple so they could receive more intimate teaching. Jesus had a way of helping people see the commitment that would be required to be His disciple and to help them understand their motives for seeking to be close to Him. The man described in today’s verses had money, power, a good reputation, and good intentions. He also had up-side-down priorities. He had placed a high value on wealth and had placed his trust in his ability to influence others and situations with his financial prowess. The man was broken hearted when he realized his true value system revolved around trust in his financial independence rather than trusting in the eternal perspectives Jesus was offering free of charge.