The Nativity Cusco School from Brooklyn Museum (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year.
For some, it is a time of feasting, partying and making merry. For others, it is a time to catch up with our long lost friends, renewing our ties of friendship.
For those in retail, F&B, and tourism, it is a super-peak period where oodles of cash can be made.
Of course, the real reason for Christmas is that it commemorates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago. His immaculate conception has been immortalised by the nativity scene – one of the most powerful emblems of Christianity.
While the birth of Jesus is a great cause for much celebration and cheer, it was His life, death and resurrection which truly impacted lives. Jesus was a wonderful leader, manager and entrepreneur, blazing new trails in spirituality which few could emulate.
As we celebrate the yuletide season, let us consider 12 lasting leadership lessons from the life of Jesus.
Born in a manger in Bethlehem, Jesus grew up in austere beginnings as the son of a carpenter and his young bride.
While he knew from a young age that he was the Son of God, he did not behave in a manner that is befitting of royalty. Instead, he shunned the company of the rich and powerful or even the religious, preferring to mingle around with the “riff raff” of society.
By becoming “one of the guys”, Jesus was able to lead powerfully and influentially. He did not simply preach from the pulpit with exhortations that sound good but mean little.
From the start of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) to the end, Jesus has always spoken about his ultimate destiny. He knew that his life’s purpose was to fulfill God’s will and to save the lost souls in the world, and lived guided by these principles.
By focusing single-mindedly on His mission, our Lord was able to overcome temptations, torture and all manners of infliction to achieve His goal.
Of course, Jesus paid the ultimate price by dying for our sins on the cross. He did not flinch from the pain and shame of being associated with murderers and thieves despite being unblemished.
While his death on the crucifix would cut short his career on Earth, Jesus knew that the bigger picture of achieving his mission here would be achieved.
Throughout his stint here on Earth, Jesus demonstrated great compassion for the people. He healed the blind, sick, and lame, and even brought the dead back to life.
While preaching to a group of 5,000, he worried over their welfare and fed them with five loaves of bread and two fishes.
By caring for the needs of his followers, Jesus amplified his message hundredfold. He demonstrated his leadership not only by words but by deeds.
Jesus knew that the best way to reach ordinary folk was through stories. He was an exceptional storyteller and He used metaphors and analogies beautifully, embedding deeper meanings in them while relaying important messages.
Few could forget the stirring illustrations of the Kingdom of God told through the Parable of the Sower, the story of God’s forgiveness in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and of course how neighbourly love is demonstrated by the Good Samaritan.
While Jesus was a great orator, his ability to influence wasn’t due to his ability to teach alone. Instead, his entire life was one of leading by example.
In the gospels, one could see that Jesus consistently showed how it was done. He not only performed miracles but made constant references to the Word of God. Such acts provide a powerful example and illustration for others to follow.
In the Bible, we read that Jesus took time to fast and pray, seeking God’s direction and strength. So great was His resilience that he managed to overcome the devil’s temptations in the desert despite being considerably weakened after 40 days of fasting.
Jesus also urged his disciples to lead lives that were worthy of God, keeping themselves free from the snares of sin. While they were initially tormented, fearful and went into hiding, the appearance of Jesus after His resurrection changed how they behaved.
One of the most vivid examples of Jesus serving his disciples was seen in the act of washing their feet over a meal one day.
By doing so, Jesus showed that being a leader isn’t always about commanding others. Instead, it is also in helping one’s followers and “staff” to do better. Often, it also requires one to roll up one’s sleeves and do the “dirty work”. Despite being God Himself, Jesus never considered it a shame to lower himself to our level to show how it should be done.
Despite being a public figure, Jesus knew the importance of spending time alone.
He often meditated and sought God’s will. He withdrew now and then from the crowd so that he could ponder the deeper truths and reflect upon his ministry.
Such a lesson is especially timely in this day and age where we are constantly bombarded by “noise” from multiple offline, online and mobile sources.
Naturally, Jesus preached and demonstrated how to give by offering his life as the ultimate gift. He also urged his disciples to give away their possessions to the poor, and to forsake materialistic gain in favour of eternal pleasures.
This lesson is shown by how loathed tax collector Zacchaeus transformed his life from miserly hoarding to generous giving after being touched by Jesus.
Perhaps the most famous management lesson from Jesus is that of evangelism. Every leader worth his salt would find ways to get the message across to his followers.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus charged his disciples to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…”.
Also known as the Great Commission, this charge to spread the gospel message has obviously succeeded very well for Christianity.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Jesus’ life and career was all about love.
It was love which prompted God to send His only son Jesus to become a human being like the rest of us. It was also love that compelled Jesus to do the unthinkable act of enduring a painful death on the cross. Such passion propelled Jesus every step of the way, and underscored his teachings and miracles.
Let me now end with the most famous Bible verse of all. One that truly encapsulates the true meaning of Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Courtesy of The Way Out There