We certainly need Spirit-empowered leaders to meet the challenges of our time. I’ve shared recently about important traits of effective Christian leaders. The head of a leader carries wisdom, the eyes of a leader hold vision, and the ears of a leader demonstrate discretion. The nose of a leader displays discernment, the shoulders of a leader carry responsibility, and the heart of a leader is moved with love and compassion. Today, I’d like to share about a leader’s hands.
The hands of a leader get involved in other people’s lives. I think about the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus told of a man who was left on the side of a road half dead after being beaten and robbed by thieves. Both a priest and a Levite saw the man in need but walked around him. However, when a Samaritan man saw the victim, he had compassion. “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:34, NKJV). When the Samaritan man left the next day, he gave money for the innkeeper to take care of the man and promised to repay him when he returned if he needed more.
Though three men saw the same person in need, one got involved while the others did not. We don’t know why the priest and Levite chose not to get involved. Maybe they felt afraid, inadequate, or superior. Maybe they were too busy, callous, or skeptical. Whatever they were, the reasons that kept them from offering help weren’t strong enough to hold the Samaritan back. The priest and Levite chose what was easy, but the Samaritan chose what was right.
We’re faced with the same choice today. We certainly don’t have to look far to find people in need, but do we act more like the priest and Levite or like the Samaritan? Do we get involved to leave people better, or do we stay back and leave them as they are? If we want to be a leader for them, we’ll choose to get involved.
You see, being a leader is more about service than status. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have arrived; it just means you have more responsibility. This parable proves you don’t need a title to be a leader. You just have to be willing to get your hands dirty.
The apostle Paul made an interesting statement to members of the Corinthian church: “Though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me” (1 Corinthians 4:15-16). Paul was offering himself to be more than an instructor; he wanted to be a spiritual father for them.
What’s the difference in an instructor and a father? A father is involved in the lives of his children. He is aware of their needs and takes responsibility for meeting them. A father is committed to his children for the long haul. A father is a leader, and that’s who Paul wanted to be for the congregation in Corinth.
I hope we all desire to offer the commitment of a father or mother when it comes to helping others. When we see people hurting or in need, will we simply pass by or will we commit ourselves to leaving them better? Only when we get involved will we truly make a difference.