When we take an honest look at the life of our Lord Jesus, what do we see? Do we see a detached, impersonal Messiah who opposed being seen with sinners and tax collectors? The answer is obvious, but have you considered the emotional connection Jesus had with those He interacted with daily? Throughout the Gospels we see our Lord eating with those whom the world shunned. We see Him healing men and women whom society deemed unworthy of such compassion. What does this compassion mean for you as a leader? It means that you have the most compassionate example of leadership ever modeled. Here are three ways Jesus teaches us to be more compassionate leaders.
Jesus Sacrificed for Those He Served
Throughout the Gospels, we read of Jesus great love for His disciples. Not only them, but many others—like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus—as well (John 11:15). As leaders, you're first among equals when it comes to those under your care. Whether you're running the church with a team of elders, a small handful of volunteers, or on your own, Jesus' example of loving those whom He served can be a powerful example.
As you seek better ways to love, from the brother or sister serving by your side all the way down to the children in your church, it's vital that you take time to cultivate those relationships with those serving alongside you. By daily giving your time to creating meaningful relationships you'll build stronger, more engaged families who will be interested in helping on a deeper level.
Jesus Spent Time Developing His Disciples
Cultivating lasting relationships takes time. Jesus spent three years pouring Himself into His hand-chosen group of misfits. No pastor is an island. That means creating a close-knit group of men whom you can confide in and who can speak truth into your life even when it hurts. The life of a leader can often be a lonely one. Having that group who prays with you, prays for you, encourages you and listens supportively is essential.
A second advantage to having this level of close community is the opportunity for activities like confession to take place. After Peter wept bitterly over his denial of Jesus, something remarkable happened. Jesus, showing compassion on Peter, restored him to his position through confession (John 21:15). The act of confession in the midst of love and brotherly affection can be incredibly healing and faith-building.
Jesus Taught His Disciples How To Seek the Father
Just a stone's throw from a group of men and overwhelmed with sorrow, Jesus fell on His face and in anguish prayed so fervently that His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44) Jesus communion with the Father became a tangible experience that His Disciples would use in their writings to early believers.
As those with varying levels of need seek your counsel, it's easy to fall into a rhythm of using canned responses in the face of repeated requests. Looking to Jesus, we see that His reactions to suffering always matched the need of those coming to Him. For the woman who touched the hem of His robe in the midst of the pressing crowd, it was healing. For a brother whom He loved who lay buried, it was resurrection. For the woman at the well, it was the revelation of Living Water.
When illness, death, grief, and suffering show up at your door, the most significant thing you can do for them is to show them a suffering Savior. As you weep with those who mourn show them a Man who cared for the shunned and outcast. Show them the spotless Lamb who hung on a cursed tree to wash them from their sins. Doing so takes the spotlight off of you and shines it on the Most High. There is no better way to build relationships than to consistently point those under your care to the one who can answer their most dire needs.