Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?”
Humble leadership breaks down walls and builds up with love
- Jeremiah 23:1-6 – He shall reign as king and deal wisely.
- Philippians 2:5-11 – Who… did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited.
Jeremiah denounces the bad leadership of the kings of Israel who divided and scattered the people, a leadership that destroyed nations and drove their citizens into exile. In contrast, the Lord promises a shepherd-king who will ‘execute justice and righteousness in the land’ and gather the flock as one.
Only in Christ have we seen the example of a leader truly after God’s heart. In him we encounter a loving, humble servant who does not regard equality with God as something to be exploited. He comes to serve, rather than be served, and his followers are called to do the same.
Today, the Middle East is experiencing the loss of its people to exile as ‘righteousness and justice’ are becoming scarce commodities, not only there but throughout the world. Yet leaders, both in the world and in the Church, have a responsibility to bring together rather than to scatter or divide. The more faithfully Christians emulate the servant leadership of Christ, the more division in both the world and the Church will be overcome. As we work for righteousness, justice and peace for all, we witness humbly to the shepherd-king, and draw others into his presence.
Just and righteous God,
we confess before you that we often covet worldly models of leadership.
Help us to seek our Lord Jesus Christ
not in the palaces of the powerful but in the humble manger.
May we emulate him in his meekness and become servants to each other in obedience to you.
We pray in the name of Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns forever in glory.
Verse / Poem
It was the day of the strong men
the day when truth retired, redundant
because lies had more glitz,
and justice disabled, mocked,
in the name of a golden god
cast from melted down lives.
And then came the pestilence
and the day of the servant
in nursing home and ICU,
and the temple profligate with treasure
in cylinders of breath.
- Global: How have you seen the Church follow Jesus’ pattern of leading through service?
- Local: What Christian leader (either local or national) do you admire for the ability to inspire unity and a concern for justice? What qualities enable that person to lead effectively?
- Personal: When have you been inspired to take the lead in seeking justice or working towards unity?
Go and Do
Global: Focus on a number of examples of where you consider good leadership to be evident. Try to identify the shared principles of leadership in these examples and consider how they can be encouraged in the work of creating unity.
Local: Invite a local leader to a gathering of the churches in your area to hear more about their work and to find out how you can best support and encourage them.
Personal: Find out about or refresh your memory on the circle of concern and circle of influence (https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/the-circle-of-concern-and-influence/) and consider how you can best exercise your personal leadership this week to help the cause of unity.
Original source: WPCU 2022