Love: The Winning Strategy (3)

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart.’ Matthew 22:37 NIV

One day Christ’s critics asked Him, ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ (Matthew 22:36 NIV) His answer is a timely reminder to both leaders and followers; it includes those who sit in the pews and those who stand in the pulpit. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart … all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’ (Matthew 22:37–38 NIV) As a leader you must never leave a question in anyone’s mind as to who is God—and who isn’t. Namely, yourself! God said, ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’ (Exodus 20:3 NKJV) And that’s important, because you’re never in greater danger than when people begin to praise you. Yes, we must teach people to respect, honour, and reward good leadership, but the Christ-like leader discourages adulation and shies away from the limelight. John the Baptist was so successful as a preacher that when he got through speaking, his audience flocked to Jesus. Speaking of it, Christ later said, in essence, ‘John, you did your job well!’ Apparently John agreed, for he said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ (John 3:30 NKJV) Isaiah wrote, ‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.’ (Isaiah 6:1 NKJV) The king’s death occurred before Isaiah saw the Lord. Only when a leader dies to ego, becoming impervious to applause and approval, is God glorified in his or her leadership. Indeed, when Christ alone is exalted, the God-called leader smiles and says, ‘Thank You, Lord—that’s how You intended it.’