Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
This series of posts flows from two premises and one conclusion: (1) people follow leaders; (2) Jesus is The Perfect Leader; and therefore (3) everyone (including marketplace leaders) should consider following Jesus.
GREAT LEADERS EXEMPLIFY MISSION-DRIVEN
“There are different ways to do innovation…We go mission-first, then focus on the pieces we need and go deep on them and be committed to them.”~Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook
In late August, Senator John McCain died following a lengthy battle with cancer. Judged by the outpouring of tributes from around the world, he was truly a man of influence. Like all leaders, McCain was neither perfect nor without controversy. That said, many who knew him described him as mission-driven and passionate. According to an article in Politico Magazine, “fulfilling the obligation to contest evil was John McCain’s life force.” This assessment fits squarely with McCain’s self-identification as a Christian.
To the end, confronting and defeating evil drove him. For example, I received an email from Majed El Shafie, an acquaintance about whom I wrote some time ago, attaching a personal letter from McCain dated just three days prior to his death! In the letter, McCain says, “I was impressed to learn of your personal journey of persecution, torture, and ultimately, freedom…I am ever thankful for your commitment to a cause greater than your own self-interest.”
As leaders, we understand the importance of being mission-driven. By staying on mission, effective leaders avoid distractions that undermine the realization of goals. In this respect, no one in history has more perfectly exemplified mission-driven than Jesus.
Physician, historian and author of two books in the Bible, Luke records Jesus’ announcement of his mission in the local synagogue. After reading a prophecy written hundreds of years earlier by Isaiah concerning the future arrival of a saviour to set people free, Jesus said, in essence, “I am that saviour.”
In an encounter with a member of the Jewish ruling council, Jesus amplified the meaning of freedom. Everyone (then and today) stands condemned before God because of their thoughts, words and deeds. However, those who trust in Jesus are no longer condemned. Rather, they are set free, reconciled with God and granted eternal life.
Jesus animated his mission with deeds. Everywhere he went, he healed people of various serious diseases. He taught the principles of the Kingdom of God’s rule and confronted evil in both the rulers of that time and his followers. Being without sin, Jesus executed his mission perfectly.
In a meeting with a non-Jewish leader subsequent to Jesus’ resurrection, the Apostle Peter summarized the life of Jesus as follows, “And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
By enduring the cross and thereby bearing the punishment due every human being, Jesus perfectly fulfilled his mission. By rising from the dead, Jesus ratified his mission. As believers in Jesus, we understand that true freedom, meaning and abundant living are found only by accepting his unconditional offer of forgiveness.
Next week, we will examine serving others, another key characteristic of great leaders.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.