There have been too many days where I'm speaking about the easy yoke of Christ to the masses, while boundlessly exhausted from the hours of preparation the night before.
There have been too many ministry events aimed at encouraging people to buy into the "immeasurable peace of Jesus", while moments prior I'm anxiously scrambling to finalize program details.
I too often speak about the prince of peace, while leading like the king of chaos.
For most, it's rather easy to detect whether a leader is confidently at peace or anxiously striving to manufacture ministry results.
@@I'm convinced that in our fast, multi-tasking, transient culture, the preeminent gift we can give others is our non-anxious presence.@@
The season of epiphany marks the "revealing" of Jesus to the Magi, but this gospel account of Matthew (chapter 2) and the contrasting composition between Herod and the Magi reveals much more than some divine baby in a manger. It also reveals two types of leadership that are formed directly from our understanding (or misunderstanding) of the power of Jesus birth, death, and resurrection.
1) Herodian Leadership: A leader who strives
Herodian leadership strives for success and is determined to desecrate anything standing in the way of its production and progress. This is a leadership style that requires the most extreme of effort. The Herodian leader needs to move fast and needs to get it perfect because their identity is largely tied up in the success of whatever they are leading.
If it fails, they are failures. If their program dies, they die.
And so they fight, and strive, and exhaust themselves, often oppressing others in the attempt to secure their effectiveness and dominance. You want to know what Herodian type leadership looks like? It is anxious, angry, overly critical, and hurried (not busy). It is defensive, and distracted. The Herodian leader is rarely present because she is either dwelling on what went wrong in the recent past or fretting about the unknown future.
2) Magi Leadership: A leader who pursues
A magi-like leader's main priority is to pursue Jesus. Their goal isn't good work for Jesus, or even becoming some well-known representative of Jesus. The Magi-leader's aim is nothing more nor less than Jesus. They want the very presence of the Messiah and are willing to bend their lives around seeing, hearing, and feeling Christ much like the ways of the wisemen. It's an enduring, delightful, adoration-infused, and radically generous pursuit. The Magi-like leader has an overwhelming desire to be present with the one whose presence can melt and move their hearts. They don't grasp for power like Herod because it's easy to see they don't have much while basking in the powerful presence of the infant-king. Let's be honest. Truly powerful people don't have to grasp for power. They just have it. They can lay in a manger doing nothing and still leave people in awe and wonder.
Every day you and I lead out of one of these two postures.
Must we earn our keep, or has our keeper earned us through His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection?
I pray that you and I would be melted by the finality of Jesus' love. You have been bought by a baby boy's life and His death.
This means that @@no depth of failure can lose the Father's love, and no height of success can earn it.@@
It is finished, and this means we get to stop striving and stressing and can instead start searching for the presence of the one who will powerfully change us and all those following closely behind.
May we lead like the Magi.