As leaders in the business world, most of us interact with multiple people all throughout our work day. We go about our normal everyday tasks, meetings and plans. Our leadership decisions and conversations occur in a steady and regular rhythm throughout the week.
Here’s the interesting thing: We never know how deeply these regular, small, everyday interactions can speak and testify to the love of God.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to a different kind (or way) of leadership. Leading in the way of Jesus is to lead in love. This leadership in the Kingdom looks very different than other ways people lead. It’s really quite subversive to the culture of today. And it typically sticks out when others see it!
In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells his disciples:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The world will know we are followers of Jesus by our love. All the seemingly insignificant ways we interact, communicate and lead can give others a picture of the good news of the Kingdom of God. And it can make an incredible impact!
The Impact of Life Lived Like Jesus
In 2007, the sport world gave us an amazing picture of this.
In February of that year, Tony Dungy’s Colts defeated Lovie Smith’s Bears in Super Bowl XLI by 29-17. At the time, much had been made over the historic nature of this Super Bowl. It was the first time a team (and in this case, two teams) led by African American head coaches made it to the championship game.
And although both men had publicly confirmed the importance of this milestone, they both admitted that at most it ranks second to the fact that this Super Bowl was coached by two followers of Jesus. In post game remarks, Tony Dungy said,
“I tell you what, I’m proud to be representing African-American coaches, to be the first African-American coach to win this. It means an awful lot to our country. But again, more than anything, I said it before, Lovie Smith and I, not only the first two African-Americans, but Christian coaches showing you can win doing it the Lord’s way. We’re more proud of that.”
In an article written by John Branch on February 5th, 2007 in The New York Times, these two coaches were written about this way:
“Neither man swears. They rarely raise their voices, in meetings with players or on the sideline during games. They carry themselves with an air of grace and control. They are not shy about revealing their religious beliefs.”
This same assessment of Dungy was given by Phil Simms, who was the color commentator during the Super Bowl broadcast. He commented on Dungy’s demeanor with his players, his aversion to swearing, yelling or intimidation. As one reads both pre-game and postgame hype, it’s the behavior of these men that is highlighted more than their talk.
Leadership Lessons From the Teachings of Jesus
Perhaps that’s what Jesus is pointing at in Matthew 7:6 – “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
Jesus warns us not to waste our breath trying to explain spiritual things to those who aren’t willing to listen. In this passage, “dogs” and “pigs” are euphemisms for pagan Gentiles, those who want nothing to do with the God of Israel. “Sacred” and “pearls” refer to the Word of God.
Jesus says, don’t give the Word to those who want nothing to do with it. They’ll destroy it, then they’ll turn on you to attack you. This is what often happens to the “Bible Banger”.
Instead, he tells us to let others “see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). People who don’t know Jesus will point to our faith in God based on our deeds, not our words.
This was the example of Dungy and Smith. What they said was secondary to what they did, how they lived, and the way they walked. And many, many in the media, NFL and around the world have seen the Master as a result.
So, as business leaders let’s ask ourselves:
Are others seeing Jesus based on how I live and work?
If the answer is not “yes”, then let’s ask what needs to change? Then let’s respond and make the changes we need to to lead in the way of Jesus.
Jay Hidalgo lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is the Chief Sales & Marketing Executive at Weldaloy Products Company. This is a guest post written by Jay.