Leading and Serving Require Love
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
The Sadducees or aristocrats of Jesus’s day came to Him and attempted to trip Him up by asking a question about Old Testament law. One of the teachers of the law overheard the discussion and was impressed with Jesus’s answer so he asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is and Jesus answers with the words above. This answer was significant because the religious leaders of that time were more concerned with a person’s ability to follow rules perfectly than they were with whether they loved God and loved others.
The order that Jesus shares these principles in is significant. True love is only possible when a person experiences the perfect love of God and experiencing God’s love requires us to be an active participant in our relationship with Him. God demonstrated His love for everyone when He sent His Son to die on the cross but we have to choose to receive His love and spend time with Him. As we experience God’s love we are then able to love others, even those that we may struggle to like. God’s love fills us and, if we will allow it to, it will flow from us and touch others in such a way that God can use it to draw others to Himself.
So what does loving God and loving others have to do with a person leading and serving? A person can have many qualities that seem to make them fit for leadership but if they are not actively pursuing a relationship with God and allowing the love of God to fill them and flow from them to others then they will not be able lead effectively.
We need to remember that loving God requires us to discipline ourselves. This discipline starts with our heart. We have to actively pursue a love relationship with God and guard against having our hearts wooed away by other things. We have to recognize that our soul, our very being, was designed to have a relationship with God and then we have to keep from allowing other relationships to get in the way of our relationship with Him. We have to discipline our thoughts in order to keep from justifying things that will destroy our relationship with Him. We have to actively fill our thoughts with His Truth. We have to love God with our physical being, through worshiping Him and serving Him.
A leader or servant for God has to first love God and then has to demonstrate a genuine love for others. This love for others will require humility and sacrifice. The leader who loves God passionately and allows God’s love to flow from them to others will draw others to God and will bring glory to God as they lead.