In John 13, starting with verse 1, we find the account of Jesus sharing the Passover meal with His disciples. Of course, the disciples are oblivious as to what is happening. They do not know that they are on the cusp of what we know would be the bleakest night in all of human history. In this setting, Jesus does something inexplicable. He, the Master of the Universe, God wrapped in humanity, the God above all gods, humbles Himself and washes the feet of His disciples. In other words, in the midst of what we would call a crisis, He, the Leader, the Master, breaks all protocol and etiquette and begins to serve His servants! Now, hidden in His actions are two leadership principles that I want you to consider and ponder.
First, although Jesus is fully aware of the fate that awaits Him; we find no trace of self-pity on His part. He refuses to play the “Poor pitiful Me” or the “Victim of My circumstances” card. He knew that He was born and destined for this very moment. It was time for Him to “Man up,” as we would say. The pressure was on. He must rise to the occasion. And in the crucible of His circumstances, we discover that Jesus finds a way to both model and teach true leadership principles. After all, this is what a leader does! He doesn’t make excuses and explain things away. He leads!
Secondly, He models that when life’s circumstances are the bleakest; a leader finds a way to serve others. Let that sink in guys. In the darkest moment of His life, Jesus placed the emphasis on and modeled service to others. Furthermore, He instructed His disciples to do likewise.
Learning to serve others well in a crisis is the crucible in which leadership skills are forged. Lee Iacocca was the Chairman of Chrysler Motors when they faced bankruptcy in the early 1990’s. In an ad campaign that began airing on February 5, 1992, Iacocca said, “In the car business, you lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Guys, so it is in the pastoring business. You guys are leaders. So, despite your current crisis – lead! And in the process, find a way to serve others! You see, it’s easy to serve others when all is going well, however, not so much when you’re facing a crisis. But hear the truth – how you serve others in a time of crisis is what really matters. This is what your people will remember. So, remember that God knew what you would face before He put you where you are. He uniquely gifted and qualified you with the talents your situation requires. And hey, if it was easy anybody could do it. But because it’s not easy, God called you! So, refuse to play the “Poor pitiful me” or the “Victim of my circumstances” card and find a way to serve others “IN” your circumstances. It’s what leaders do!