One of the most important principles of leadership development is being careful who you watch and who you follow. We live in an age of ‘hero worship’. Whether it is sports, politics, TV personalities or some respected leader in the church, the general trend is to allow someone to eclipse the single most important person we should be watching and following.
“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them…When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”” (John 21:20–21). Just at the end of the severe test Jesus put Peter through in verses 15 to 19, He said to Peter, “Follow Me”. Was the test of Peter’s love for Jesus and this exhortation not enough to redirect his mind and heart so it was solely focused on Jesus? It is evident that the future was consuming Peter’s thinking rather than placing his attention on his Master and Teacher. Notice how Jesus responds: “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”” (John 21:22).
Paul affirmed this principle of having Christ as our single goal and the One we must follow; “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). The prerequisite is whether the model we are following is a clear reflection of Christ. In other words, whoever the mentor, teacher, pastor or model we look at, they must be pointing our attention and the direction of our lives to Christ. At the same time, we must be very careful not to idolize someone, no matter how skilled or gifted they are. A good leader will model following Christ and insist on others doing the same!
As a father of four, a grandfather of fourteen, and great-grandfather of one, I urge all the fathers on this Father’s Day, to make sure your life and words are pointing your family to Christ. You are being watched by them and many others. If we fail in this most important task, we have failed them and missed God’s purpose of our lives.
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