The intersect of faith and life conjoin to express what devotion to God looks like in the present. At this vital meeting place, for the Christian at least; actions are weighed, judgments are made, and outcomes are predicted by a watching and waiting world. In this sense, one cannot help but to offer thoughts on the influence of Christ on others in one’s vocation, or to put it more succinctly, the place at which leadership and Lordship meet.
Recently, in the professional sports vocation, a unique convergence of faith and field can be seen in Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos in the National Football League. Drafted by the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, Tebow did not regularly start for the team until the 6th game of the 2011 season, where he has righted the team’s 1-4 start to a current record of 8-6. Even amid the media bewilderment surrounding his stunning success as a starter, Tebow’s leadership has clearly influenced the team’s success. Yet, more interesting than his leadership qualities is the fact that the Lordship of Christ in his life precedes any and all of his innate and learned leadership abilities. All speculations aside, the imitation for Tebow’s success can be found. Yet, most people do not know where to look since they focus on outward mechanics and other physical and mental aspects that change the outcome of a game. However, one must go beyond that into the realm of faith. By doing so, one will come to scripture and learn where Tebow’s pattern for leadership and Lordship meet.
In the pages of scripture, we see Christ. From the Old Testament to the new, Christ is expected and anticipated to come as the supreme world leader to inaugurate his kingdom. Yet, part of the mystery of the gospel is the way he entered and exited the world; a world that was not looking for the suffering-servant-leadership he provided. Jesus came to serve, and to give his life as a ranson for many. The world does not recognize this kind of leadership because it is leadership in the imitation of God. And the world does not recognize God.
One key place to look for Christ’s display of his leadership is found in John 13. Here, we notice how Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, washed his disciples feet as an act of love (John 13: 1-17). In fact, John makes it clear that Jesus’ secure identity as God prompted his decisive act of loving service (John 13:3). Based on this, we see that the pattern of leadership is based on humble service for the good of another. Later, recalling the full extent of Christ’s love displayed on the cross, Paul records this in Philippians 2:1-11 (The NET Bible):
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death –even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
3 key insights on leadership can be gleaned from two previous scripture passages and a spectators glimpe of the leadership of Tim Tebow on and off the field:
- Leadership begins with Lordship. If there is leadership without Lordship it will ultimately lead to personal self-intrest, self-promotion and self-gain. The mold of leadership and Lordship is Jesus Christ. He emptied himself by taking on flesh and blood – incarnating himself among his creation – in order that he might redeem those whom the Father had given him. His leadership is the ultimate example since he suffered a cruel death through obedience to the Father. Leadership begins and ends with Lordship.
- The self-emptying effect of servant leadership makes others better. When a leader goes lower, he or she lifts others higher. If you want to make others around you better then serve them sacrificially. Christ, by offering himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for sin to satisfy the wrath of God, has brought redemption to the elect of God in Christ Jesus; now making the redeemed acceptable before the Father.
- The pain of Christ’s leadership through suffering allows us to share in his glorification. The lesson we learn from Christ’s leadership is that it was indeed costly. He gave up his life so that others would share in his glory. The pain of leadership involves greater suffering, but allows other people to share in limited suffering. Christ, as a leader was the only one capable to satisfy the full wrath of God for sin. As a result of his pain, sorrow, anguish, and victory over all things, we are able to share in his supreme and ultimate glorification. Therefore, Christ’s pain becomes many peoples gain.
In summation, the joy of Lordship and leadership is seeing others share in Christ’s glorification. Satisfaction in Lordship is using your influence to allow others to share in Christ’s glorification by leading them to Jesus for life. This is why Tebow gives glory and praise to God – so that people may know of Christ’s all-surpassing glory and come to know him and thereby, share in Christ’s glorification extended from the Father.