Leadership Lessons from Jesus
I love these 11 verses and what it teaches about leadership. Both what Jesus is looking for from his leaders and lessons on how we can develop future leaders. Please notice that here is a passage where Jesus is teaching eternal truths to a large group of people, yet the focus is not on what Jesus taught but who Jesus was testing. Listen closely, when you come to church this Sunday or Iron Leadership today, the most important thing for you on that day might not be the Teaching (WHAT?) it might God’s Testing. You know at any given time God is doing millions of things at once.
4 Leadership Tests:
Action – Obedience – Humility – Sacrifice
If I am hiring staff at CCC, if I am looking to put someone in a leadership position at CCC, I am intentionally looking for these 4 qualities. We will discuss 2 this week and 2 next time.
Jesus was teaching people beside the Sea of Galilee. He is in Capernaum, the little fishing village on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee which was the home of Peter, James and John who were all Fishermen. On this occasion, the longer Jesus taught the more people came to hear him! This is every preacher’s Dream. This has never happened to me yet. In my experience, the longer I teach the fewer people that come.
Because of the expanding size of the crowd, Jesus was experiencing a logistics problem; The people were pressing him into the water. So, quickly and uninvited, Jesus hops aboard Peter’s boat and makes a simple request: “Quick Peter! Will you help me solve my logistics problem by getting into the boat and row me out just a bit and continue to hold the boat there while I finish my sermon?” What Peter doesn’t realize is Jesus isn’t just teaching people; He is also testing Peter. The most important thing for Peter that day wasn’t the Teaching of Jesus but the Testing of Jesus.
Jesus looks at Peter and says “Peter, I have a challenge before me, will you make my challenge your challenge? Will you drop everything right now to respond to my needs? What a Test!
Could Jesus have rowed himself out to finish his sermon? Of Course! But Jesus is doing more than one thing at a time. He is teaching but he is also looking to build a TEAM. He is looking to build at Team who will one day be challenged by Jesus, not to launch a boat but to launch the Church! So Jesus takes this opportunity to give Peter a test to see what Peter tends to do when problems come his way. Jesus is looking for people who lean toward taking Action when there are problems. Please notice it’s not a glamorous assignment. Peter was asked to sit behind Jesus so people could see & hear Jesus.
It’s a simple request and it’s a simple assignment, but Peter’s response redirects his entire future. Peter could have said to Jesus: “Look, I have had a long frustrating night of fishing, row your own boat. Just end your sermon early so we can go home.” This might have been the last time we heard of Peter.
Instead Peter leans towards action. He stops what he is doing, jumps in the boat, and rows out and waits on Jesus to finish his sermon. Peter passes the first test. This small action is like a hinge on a great door that opens Peter to a future he can hardly imagine at this point sitting by the lake cleaning his nets. Hear this – So often, small actions can open great doors in our future. Don’t forget that!
Do you lean toward Action in solving problems? Are you ready to jump in? Will you make your challenge my challenge? These are the kinds of leaders Jesus is looking for; these are the kind of leaders you want on your team. This is the kind of teammate you want to be. Jesus knew the launch of the Church was going to take leaders who would put down what they are doing and take action on problems that Jesus directs them to. It’s NOT going to be done by the Passive types who wait around for others to take action.
Fathers and leaders, Instead of doing things yourself, do you give others these kinds of tests to see if they lean toward Action? Are you figuring out ways to test people in your organization to see if they can be future leaders?
Those of you in your 20s and 30s, our future leaders. Are you aware that your small actions toward problems might be the hinge that opens a future leadership door. Rarely are you given Leadership; Instead it is built over a series of small actions you take.
Jesus, the Master Theologian & Teacher, tests Peter by giving the professional fisherman fishing advice. “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” It’s not a complex request, So what’s so difficult about it? Two things make it difficult:
- Jesus’ request runs counter to what Peter thinks is best.
- Jesus request comes precisely at the time Peter is most tired and frustrated.
They were out all night, most likely sleepless, and caught Zero fish which would most likely leave them frustrated. It’s so difficult to be obedient when Jesus’ request runs counter to what you think is best, especially when you are tired and frustrated.
What a Test!
In verse 5 we see Peter’s response: “We toiled all night, O how hard it is to be obedient when you are tired, and took in nothing!” We don’t know Peter’s tone but I imagine there is a hint of frustration “Jesus, you are the professional when it comes to theology and teaching but “We”- us not you- we are the professionals at fishing. Jesus, you stay in your Lane. Do you see the test? Is Peter for Peter or is Peter for Jesus? You can only tell when Jesus asks you to do something counter to what you think is best when you are tired.
“BUT” This is the hinge that opens up a whole new world to Peter. It’s the word that leads to one of the most important statements ever to come out of Peter’s mouth. “But, Because you say so – I will.” Because you say so – I will. Underline this phrase and use it in your prayers. This is a hinge statement in the life of every follower of Jesus: “God, I know what I would do right now if it were left up to me. I know what the world tells me to do. I know what all my friends are doing. BUT – because you say so I will.” If you haven’t yet mastered that prayer you will have little success leading in the Kingdom of God.
I believe this little phrase of faith was life altering for Peter. In verse 11 Peter trades in Catching Fish for Changing Eternal Destinies because he believed what Jesus said. Peter helps launch the church which has affected billions of lives long into the future.
Peter passes the Obedience Test:
How do you react to God’s direction when it runs counter to what you think is best? What about when you are tired and frustrated?
As a Father and leader, are you passing out this test and taking note of how those under you operate? Do they take directions well or do they constantly complain or what to GIVE directions instead?
As a future leader, Do you follow directions? I have known some very talented people who have so many useful gifts yet they don’t want to take direction. Because of this, they don’t make great team members.
Jesus is looking for people who can take direction, even under difficult circumstances.
Turning toward the torpedo, can the team hold together when it looks like the opposite should be happening?
- Do you lean toward Action in solving problems – ready to jump in? Make your challenge my challenge?
- Instead of doing things yourself do you give others these kinds of tests to see if they lean toward Action? Are you figuring out ways to test people in your organization to see if they can be future leaders?
- Are you aware that your small actions toward problems might be the hinge that opens a future leadership door? Rarely are you given Leadership, instead it is built over a series of small actions you take.
- How do you react to God’s direction when it runs counter to what you think is best? What about when you are tired and frustrated?
- Are you passing out this test and taking note of how those under you operate? Do they take directions well or do they constantly complain or what to GIVE directions instead?
- Do you follow directions?
Friends and Brothers,