As a leader you are probably very goal-oriented. This is likely a gross understatement for some of you reading this. For you, it isn’t so much about the journey. It’s all about the destination and getting where you are set on going. And, the sooner the better. There is no time for distraction, detours (but often for “shortcuts”) or too much discussion. Besides, there is another goal just waiting to be achieved and another destination anxiously awaiting your arrival. I’ll be the first to confess… this is my default setting. Even as a kid I was the one in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet?”
However, even a casual glance at the leadership and ministry style of Jesus reveals something that challenges this notion of destination vs journey. You see, much of Jesus’ ministry happened on the way to somewhere else. Sometimes it even happened when he really wasn’t doing anything that could be confused as overly (to the over-achiever’s eye) goal-oriented.
Matthew 9 is a good example of this. “And getting into a boat he crossed over…” (v1). “As Jesus passed on from there…” (v9). “And as Jesus reclined at the table…” (v10). “While he was saying these things to them…” (v18). “And Jesus rose and followed him…” (v19). “And as Jesus passed on from there…” (v27). “As they were going away…” (v32). “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages…” (v35).
Just what did Jesus accomplish as he meandered, reclined and wandered about chatting and otherwise telling stories? On this day only the healing of a paralytic, the calling of a future apostle, teaching of religious leaders and people, healing of a bleeding woman, raising from the dead a young girl, healing of two blind men, exorcising a demon from a possessed man, generally healing, curing, calling and teaching about the need for a little less talk and a lot more compassionate action from His followers.
What about you? Have you “arrived” yet? Or, are you constantly striving to reach that next benchmark or check that next item off the list? Are you still the impatient kid asking (now from the driver’s seat), “Our we there yet?” Learn from the Master. Life, leadership and the real work of ministry happens along the way. Whether on the move or relaxing over lunch, Jesus never seemed to see interaction with the people He came to “seek and to save” as an interruption to His divine agenda. Rather, they were the agenda. And, along the way He set the example of what it means to truly live and lead with real people in real time… and for this Jesus will always be the ultimate over-achiever.
Learning to lead along the way,