Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Week in Review


This was presented one Good Friday as the Seven Last Words of Christ was shared. I pray you receive a reminder about the wonderful gift we received in Christ as we draw closer to the Resurrection (Easter) season. God bless.

John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had receive the vinegar, he said It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

I asked myself this question, “What did Jesus finish?” Before time as we understand it, before the very first man, God had a mission in place for his son. God’s mission was to redeem sinful man back into a right relationship with him through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross, paying for all of our transgressions. Therefore God originated the mission that Jesus came to fulfill. However, Jesus’ purpose did not start the day he was born, but his birth began the process of fulfillment, of finishing the mission.

It is imperative for us to understand that Jesus when he calls out, “it is finished”, that he finished everything required of him. He did not finish 50% of the job, or 99.9%, but 100%.

Jesus finished or fulfilled the prophetic words that pointed to him. He is the Lamb of God, The Son of man, the bread of life, the living bread, the light of the world, the gate for the sheep, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life. He is the counselor; he is the true vine and so much more.

Jesus also finished any doubt about who he was and still is. He showed his authority over illness and diseases, over blindness, and leprosy, over sin and demons, over nature, over history, over space, over time and the future, over the wind and the water, over death, over Satan and even over his own future.

When he states it is finished, he is also saying, there is nothing left to be done, I have done it all, for now and forever more. And nothing was able to keep him from finishing his mission. Mockers, liars, betrayers, the power of men, nor physical pain. Not even the feeling of separation from his father and the emotional and spiritual pain that entailed, kept him from finishing his mission. Even when he called out like David did in Psalm 22:1, My God, My God, why have thou forsaken me?!”

Nothing stopped Jesus from calling out from the cross it is finished. And his words serve to let us know two things. First he finished everything the Father told him to and in the manner that God wanted it done. He did not do things his way, but Gods way. He was obedient to ALL that the Father asked of him. We know this because he said, not my will, but thou will be done, when he asked for the cup to be removed. And then secondly his words serve as a call to all believers to come after him.

What do you and I need to finish? Before you or I were born, God knew that we would be here this very moment this very day, and he had a mission ready for us to fulfill, to finish. He is calling us to be a living sacrifice and pick up our cross and follow his son. He is calling us to fulfill our mission not 50%, not 99 ½% but 100%. This can be done because it is not in ourselves that we do it. Jesus came to show us how to do it and his spirit will equipped us to do it. We can finish our mission in spite of mockers, liars, betrayers or nay Sayers. We can finish our mission even through the physical agony. Even through the emotional and spiritual pain, when we feel like calling out in a loud voice and saying, My God, My God why have thou forsaken me?!” When we want to put down our cross because it seems to hard to bear, yet we can carry on, because God’s spirit is there to lift the weight of it when it feels too heavy. Why? So that when you or I get to the end of our journey with a shout of victory we can say, It is finished!

And let us not forget this, Jesus finished his mission but he also took the time to take others by the hand and teach them how to follow after him, as he followed after his father. So as you and I set out to fulfill our mission, let us not forget to grab someone by the hand and teach them how to follow after Jesus, who did the father’s will. So we can say as Jesus did, not a saying of despair or one of failure, but in a shout of victory “It is finished”.

The Week in Review

Servant Leadership – Purpose for Today, Impact for Tomorrow (part 2)
Written by Minister Jewel D. Williams
Written December 2009

Biblical Examples of Servant Leadership

It has been established that a servant leader must be one that is willing to serve others. David S. Young, author of the book Servant Leadership for Church Renewal: Shepherds By the Living Springs, explains how servant leadership should be viewed from the Christian perspective. He states “The best leaders are servants – servants of God and servants of the people. To be a leader, one must first be a servant.”[1] Young presents seven characteristics of a servant leader from the Servant Songs in second Isaiah. He states a servant leader first feels a sense of calling (Isa. 40:2). The second trait of the servant leader is seen in the personal and humble manner of the leader. “The Servant experiences internal change to humility and does not cry aloud in public, making a big scene (Isa. 42:3).”[2] Third, the servant leader leads from a heart of peace. Much of leadership is connecting with what happens within people, that a leader must be able to “discern” or have discerning gifts (Young 1999, 33).

The fourth trait is one of clear vision. “All through the Servant Songs in Second Isaiah, we see the tremendous vision of one called by God for a purpose, to establish justice and a right-ordered society (Isa 49:5 GNB).”[3] The fifth trait Young presents from the scripture is a servant-leader must listen. “In the third song, the Lord actually opens the servant’s ear every morning. Servanthood originates with attentiveness to God (Isa. 40:4b, NRSV).”[4] The sixth trait is that the servant does not have a dazzling appearance. The servant is chosen for good inner qualities rather than outward appearance (Young 1999, 35). The seventh trait builds on the other six. The servant leader as presented by Young experiences power in weakness (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9; 4:7). Young concludes by stating, “People who are willing servants are key in deliverance and renewal because they lift the spirits of others as they open themselves to God. They mediate the covenant of God through their very presence…Thus our mission is defined.”[5]

Lorin Woolfe presents the biblical basis for servant leadership. In the book, The Bible on Leadership: From Moses to Matthew: Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders lists the biblical characteristics of a servant leader. The first of the biblical examples is honesty and integrity (Prov. 24:26; Ps.7:8). Woolfe writes, “…if you have failed to back them up in the past (or even if you simply lack a track record of trust and honesty), no one is going to line up to follow you through a deep mud puddle, let alone the Red Sea.”[6] Moses’ integrity helped him in leading the people of God.

Woolfe mentions purpose next (2 Cor. 4:16; Acts 20:22). “Noah, a novice shipbuilder if ever there was one, was spurred on by an ennobling purpose…to save enough of the sinful world so that is could continue to survive after the most catastrophic natural disaster it had ever experienced.”[7] Abraham had a purpose, to unify the entire universe. Moses’ goal was to lead the Hebrews out of Egyptian slavery. Woolfe mentions kindness and compassion (Job 29:16; Dan. 4:27). Then he presents communication. “A leader who cannot communicate clearly, powerfully, and succinctly barely qualifies as a leader.”[8] Woolfe presents other examples of communication to consider such as, the Sermon on the Mount, the protests of the prophets against idol-worship, Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as he led them through the desert and the delivery of the Ten Commandments (Woolfe 2002, 87). “Without frequent and appropriate communication of overarching ideas, mission, and vision, Judaism or Christianity would not exist today.”[9]

The other biblical examples include performance management (Prov. 12:1; Acts 20:18), team development (1 Cor. 12:12, Prov. 27:17), courage (Ezek. 2:6; Joshua 1:9), justice and fairness (Ps. 106:3; Amos 5:24), and finally leadership development (1 Kings 1:47, Deut. 3:27-28) (Woolfe 2002, 109-195). Woolfe posits, “Cynics believe that Jesus’ words, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ are an ideal that belongs only in an ‘ideal environment,’ such as a Sunday School or Monastery.”[10] Truly this is an unusual idea that one should lead the way the Bible sets forth, yet many modern leaders have been able to permeate their workplaces with kindness and compassion without them sacrificing the achievement of their business goals (Woolfe 2002, 50). The servant leader understands the principle of reaping what is sown. The servant leader knows how he invest in people today, determines the results he will receive tomorrow. If he is uncaring, he cannot expect to have people that care about his vision. An apparent question is how does the biblical example of leadership express itself in the characteristics of today’s servant leader? (Come back next week for the third installment and the section titled, “Characteristics of a Servant Leader”)


[1] David S. Young, Servant Leadership for Church Renewal: Shepherds By the Living Springs (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1999), 32-33.

[2] Young, Servant Leadership for Church Renewal: Shepherds By the Living Springs, 33.

[3] Ibid, 34.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Young, Servant Leadership for Church Renewal: Shepherds by the Living Springs, 36-37.

[6] Lorin Woolfe, The Bible On Leadership: From Moses to Matthew: Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders (New York: AMACOM Books, 2002), 2.

[7] Ibid, 24.

[8] Ibid, 87.

[9] Ibid, 88.

[10] Woolfe, The Bible on Leadership From Moses to Matthew: Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders, 50.