“I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” – Jesus, John 13:15
Though He was God and could simply tell us how we are to act, how we are to serve, etc. (as He is God and has that right), He modeled the behaviors for us, giving us an example to follow, His example! He never said “do as I say, not as I do”, but showed us how to live.
The example in this passage that He laid out for us was that of serving one another and humbling ourselves to serve one another. As He washed the feet of His disciples (foot washing being the thing that the lowest of the lowest slave was responsible for doing), He did not only wash those who loved Him perfectly or were kind to Him. Had that been the standard, there would still be some dirty feet among those disciples! But He washed the feet of Peter who would deny Him, washed the feet of Judas who would betray Him, washed the feet of Thomas who would doubt Him, and washed the feet of all who would all turn and run at the hour of His capture. And He tells us we are to do as He has done for us.
Now rather than go over this again (which you can find the sermon on John 13:1-17 here), I want to approach the subject of leading by example.
It is very easy to say to our kids or our employees or those around us what they need to do or how we should all act, but it is quite another thing to model that behavior. We all love the theory of serving one another, but the practice often is underused. We love talking about love, but have hard time showing it to those we can’t get along with. Jesus modeled the way to live and we need to strive to model Christ-like behavior for others as well. If we expect our kids to behave a certain way, are we doing likewise? If we tell others involvement in church is important, are we involved? If we want our kids to have a love for the Word of God, are we reading and studying it ourselves? Do we want our sons to treat their future wives like we as husbands are treating our wives? Do we want our daughters respecting their husbands as they see their mom respect their dad? If the last two questions are no, then we need to start modeling better.
Dr. Campo (“Todd” we all called him), one of my all time favorite bosses I had privilege of working for at Liberty University, was certainly this kind of example to us. I think all of us in the Dean of Men’s office would have gladly sung the song “We’ll Follow the Old Man…” from White Christmas to him because of how he modeled leadership to us. We loved to work hard for him because of the respect, love and self-sacrifice we saw modeled in him. We always felt he put us first and took the “blows” from above for us when we made mistakes. It made for a great place to come to work everyday even though we were often dealing with tough things and student discipline. He is an earthly example of servant-style leadership to me.
So if you find yourself in a place of leadership (and if you are a parent you already are in that place) in work, family or ministry, what kind of example are you setting? It is easy to lead by words, but are you leading by example and action? We won’t attain perfection in this area but are we daily seeking to improve and be more like Jesus? The good news is there is grace for our shortcomings and renewed power when we simply ask Jesus to make us more like Him. And therein is the key, it is all through Jesus. Our great model also gives us the power to walk as He walked. We simply must ask and obey.
This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 13:1-17 titled “Exemplary Example to Emulate” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings