One reason to regularly meditate on the life of Jesus is his modeling of mature, Spirit-filled leadership. We see this, for example, in his response to the massive defection of his followers after his bread of life sermon: “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went with him” (John 6:66).
Jesus’ brothers panicked. He had lost thousands of followers and the movement appeared to be on the verge of extinction. They urged him to get to Jerusalem as soon as possible and regain momentum, to make an impression. “Do something. You’re losing everyone – leaders, crowds, disciples. Even we have our doubts!”
Jesus, however, remained relaxed. This passage powerfully speaks to me because of how many times I have led out of anxiety and fear, especially in situations where it appeared momentum was waning.
Jesus offers us 5 keys to becoming a relaxed leader:
1. Remember the sovereignty of God. Jesus trusts the Father to send him the right people at the right time. He knows the Father is complete control of the global mission of the church. He can wait. Three times Jesus invites us to relax when things appear to be going backwards.
– All that the Father gives me will come to me (6:37).
– No one can come me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (6:44).
– That is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him. (6:65).
2. Focus on quality and integrity. Jesus is not driven by numbers. His focus remains on the Twelve and their spiritual formation. He has before him the Father’s long-range plan and their future leadership after the resurrection.
3. Trust the Father’s timing. Jesus did not seize the day. He did not “go for it.” He was not always strategic by today’s standards. He lived by the Father’s clock, allowing his timing to be determined solely and exclusively by his Father.
4. Choose lowliness. Jesus did not consider it strange that the Father led him to obscurity, not Hollywood. We follow a crucified God.
5. Listen in prayer. Jesus was so anchored to the Father that he was able to ignore success, failure, and people’s expectations. He knew that you can win the world and lose your soul.
Take a deep breath and linger for a few moments in the Father’s presence.
Relax. And enjoy the journey.