Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Take The TIme

For all of the work that has been done on leadership in recent years, you would almost think that there is nothing else that could be said. However, I am beginning to realize that one of the most important leadership principles that we can adopt was put into place by Jesus and later by the disciples and Paul nearly two thousand years ago.

I couldn't help but wonder recently why Jesus never wrote a book. To our knowledge, we have no writings of Jesus, but why? Then it occurred to me, Jesus had no need to write down his teachings onto paper, Jesus wrote His teachings on the hearts of His disciples. Jesus used a living medium to transmit his message to the world. Books and paper and email are valuable resources that we have in the modern age, but they will never be as valuable unless what is written inside of them is lived out in someone's life.

Jesus' ministry was a discipling ministry. He taught, not merely by preaching and writing, but by living with His disciples. The apostles knew how to live as Christians, not because Jesus had left them written instructions, but because he had lived before them. The model prayer is given to the disciples at the request of one of their number.

"Lord, teach us to pray" was the request. Jesus must have been elated when the disciples showed these glimpses of their future greatness. The disciples had seen Jesus in prayer and wanted what he had. Jesus lived before them, and a motley crew of men were changed from ordinary to extraordinary because of the time they spent with their master.

Teaching in this manner requires tons of time, but the results speak for themselves. How many of us are willing to put in the time to live the Christian life before and with others rather than merely tell them how to behave. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:16, "Imitate me." Paul understood that teaching and letters could do only so much. Paul was willing to submit himself to the microscopic scrutiny that would come along with being a mentor, but in doing so he changed the world. Paul did not merely tell people how to be a Christian, he lived as a Christian and people followed his lead.

Who are you spending time with today to change our world tomorrow?