Of all the leader’s relationships, the most important relationship is obviously vertical! As leaders, our relationship with Jesus has to take priority over all else and if we intend to keep developing, it needs to be fresh, current and growing.
When asked the question about the greatest commandment Jesus replies, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) Jesus is not making this up, He is reaching all the way back to Deuteronomy, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) The Old Testament makes it very clear that the desire of God is for a deeply intimate relationship with His people. An often repeated phrase is “I will be their God and they will be my people.” We will realize the importance of this vertical relationship when we realize that the condition of our relationship with God will determine the quality of all our other relationships.
Secondly, we must recognize the importance of our relationships with our family, with our husband or wife, and our children. Unfortunately, I have seen and been witness to Christian marriages breaking down and ultimately breaking up, far more often than I would ever have thought possible. The truth is, simply being a believer does not protect your marriage. It simply gives you a foundation and a framework but ultimately we all still need to put in the effort.
Thirdly, we need to consider our relationships with other leaders. These relationships should inspire, challenge, and give us a different perspective. Dare I suggest … and unfortunately, in our day it simply needs to be said … these relationships need to be flesh and blood and not on social media.
Fourthly, we should remember those whom we are discipling. Whom are you investing in? We should all have people that we are encouraging to walk more closely in the will and ways of God.
Lastly, let us not forget those who do not yet know Jesus. As leaders, we should never get beyond personal evangelism, and reaching out to those that are far from the Lord. We should never get to the place where hanging out with unbelievers is below us. If our call is ever that “great”, then we have become preoccupied. If we no longer have time to reach out to the lost, then I believe we have lost something of the essence of Jesus’ call on the life of every believer AND every leader.
Until next time