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Chapter X Jesus (The Leaderís Legacy) Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   

I pray we still do!In Matthew 28:16-20 we will learn about leadership directly from Jesus Himself. It should be obvious to many people and that even includes His enemies that at a minimum, Jesus is the leader who had the greatest impact and left the preeminent legacy in the history of the world. If you want to find out some of the reasons why His legacy has remained so widely recognized, so then stay with me as we examine the life expectancy of the heritage of the truthful leader. For as Jesus said in John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" and the Romans remind us with their ageless Latin rendition: "Veritas vos liberabit". - The Truth Will Set You Free.

Jesus led with His eye on the future of His subordinates and not only with His influence on the present in mind. A contrast is found in the American artist Andy Warhol who on the other hand way back in about 1979 reflected on the observation that from that point in time, "In the future everyone would have their fifteen minutes of fame...."  

Well you "budding leader", you need to consider that your 15 minutes in the public eye, no matter how satisfying or impacting it seems to be, is so insignificant when compared to the eternity of the future that it won't even have the impact of a firecracker in an artillery barrage. I don't care how much of your life you spent in the spotlight. This is especially true if you were concentrating on the purpose of that light being to spotlight or focus on you and your "accomplishments". If that is or has been the focus of your whole lifetime here on earth then my friend everything you accomplished pales as twilight when compared to eternity and what Jesus accomplished.. Just how long will your memory and reputation remain? How long will you live in the hearts and minds of those who knew or encountered you along life's highway? I feel sure it will depend much more on your character and those you served (and led, not drove) than on what you did to gain the pinnacle of earthly success.

This can be referred to as the "Principle of a Leader's Legacy". To create a leadership legacy the leader needs to think both strategically and intentionally. This can be accomplished more readily by focusing on several simple guidelines:

As a leader, always decide ahead of time just what you are willing to sacrifice to reach your goal - Because being a real leader will always demand a price be paid. The mantle of leadership is a heavy cloak around the shoulders of those who choose to wear it. If you hope to have a lasting impact on the future, you will learn from Jesus and those you lead that your life is no longer your own. It is very important to understand a precept I learned early in my military career. This principle of leadership came to me from a wise "Marine Corps" Major in Vietnam named Mike Murphy who told this new USMC S/Sgt that I would be wise to always remember as I progressed up the chain of command "that I had a responsibility to give up so that I could teach others to also go up". So ask yourself, are you willing to give up your time, your money, some of your dreams and aspirations, or even some great opportunities to ensure that at least a part of your vision for a better world survives long enough to be inherited by and better the lives of other generations?

If you want to help fabricate that bequest of moral and ethical leadership then you must take the initiative; start the process, you can't wait for someone else to start and then join in on his or her vision. Jesus often had to fight the agendas of others and you will likely be required to do the same. Some of you may recall that the Jewish people were expecting a leader who was a "Warrior Messiah" not a "Servant Leader" like they received and Simon the Zealot wanted Christ to lead a revolt against Rome, James and John were also a bit enamored with positions of Power (see Mark 10:37), and even Peter tried to dissuade Christ from accomplishing the very act that was to be the foundation of the inheritance He left us today.

Additionally you need to select the leaders you train with goals for them foremost in your mind. This is required because any legacy you leave will primarily be dependent on others. That means that in order for a legacy to live long enough to impact future generations, it will always require the proper selection and training or as we say in the church, the discipleship or mentorship which is a process of maturation imparted by personal tutoring of those future leaders devoted to continuing the vision of their own leaders. There must be a specific development process designed and personalized for each person you select to disciple as a future leader based on their distinctive gifts and God's goals. That is the way God worked in the Old Testament and that is the way Christ worked in the New Testament and I feel that it is the only way any honorable leader can work today.

Only a fool fails to prepare their followers and themselves for eventual succession. While we all will live forever (only our future address is ever in doubt) none of us will live in this mortal world forever. Once a sound leader has prepared their people to lead, they should begin the process of transition, as it may take some time for them to acclimate. We all learn best from the errors we make as we develop and since it is easier to counsel and advise your charges while you are still around than to come back like Jesus did after death in order to fine-tune the disciples, who still had not fully comprehended their responsibilities, a leader with wisdom will always see the need to empower others while they are still developing in your shadow. Discipling subordinates (which really only means: less mature leaders or Christians) requires one slowly let these emerging leaders walk in to the sunlight as they; the seasoned leaders retire to the shade. A leader who will not delegate after training is not only unsure of those they chose and trained, but also of his or her own ability to teach and lead.

Jesus had an excellent IDEA (I love acronyms) that He left us for leaving a proper legacy, so lets take a look at that IDEA as we transition out of this Principle:

Instruction - The Bible documents that Jesus constantly taught his disciples and followers, frequently using parables and allegories to make His words more easily understood. Truthful insights were always revealed when these lessons were examined in detail. A good leader will use reality and practical application to instruct those he leads and serves. And never great leaders never let an opportunity to teach others escape their grasp.

The more you sweat in training the less you bleed in combat

Demonstrate - Don't rely solely on lecturing or the written word to convey your message, live your message. There is a poem I read once that says "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day, I' rather one go with me than merely show the way." Can you see how important it is to understand and say what Jesus said, "Come and see, Come follow me and then come and be with me?"

If everyone learned without the need for performance testing, we would need only authors and not leaders.

Experience - Christ always maneuvered his trained followers into roles of independent responsibility as He continued to add to their training in order to combine their training with real world experience. This action indicates to me at least that everyone needs time to practice and mature their leadership styles and skill levels. A leader, who never steps forward, never takes a risk, never makes a mistake, never leads and never goes anywhere, never leaves a legacy. Sounds like he or she stays in never-never land to me.

Knowledge without experience is a static power and merely fuels a dormant leader.

Assess - Just as Jesus evaluated his disciple's progress consistently, a competent leader needs to monitor (not stifle) the progress of those under his or her care. Great leaders will consistently evaluate performance both honestly, impartially and reasonably, celebrating their subordinates' successes and applying constructive and compassionate analysis, humanizing their followers' failures so that those future leaders might continue to learn, increase their effectiveness and to improve their overall worth.

If you train and eagle to be a turkey, it will end-up as a Thanksgiving Dinner

In order to leave a legacy, you must have someone to leave it to and someone to carry it on for you. This takes the right people, the right process and the right amount of you poured into their lives. For only when you have poured out a sufficient quantity of yourself for them, will they be able to pour out themselves for others. You see nobody can ever give of that which he has not received. The Romans would have put it this way: "Nemo dat quod non habet"

We Marines just say: "You cannot give

what you do not have."

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