Posted in Advent/Christmas, Faith

Love Revealed at Christmas

Love

John 3:16 is one of the most well-known verses in the New Testament and reveals the Gospel~the Good News~in a simple yet profound statement. The foundation of God’s character and all He does is love. God is Love. It was Love that drew me to follow Him over thirty-seven years ago. It is Love that continues to fill and sustain me. During this Christmas season, humanity is reminded that God loved people so much that He sent His Son in the form of a Baby to make a way to be with Him forever. We celebrate the gift of His love.

Two thousand plus years ago God came to us in simplicity. Born to a poor couple, the God-Babe arrived in a stable. He was placed in a feeding trough. The Most High Lord came in vulnerability. In those days, the mortality rate for newborns was much higher than today. Love came to the world as an innocent, helpless Baby who relied on his parents to care for all His needs.

The Creator of the Universe planned for humanity’s redemption millennia in advance. Nevertheless, He took a huge risk to include people in His plan. Love always involves risk.  The actors in the Christmas story were real-life flesh and blood. They had the ability to choose for themselves. Mary could have passed up the opportunity to be the Mother of God. She could have rejected the invitation to give birth and raise the Savior of the World. Similarly, Joseph could have run from the responsibility of being the earthly father to God’s Son. He could have divorced Mary quietly and left her to bear scandal on her own. At each turn of the story, saying “no” was a possibility. Thankfully they responded to God’s invitation of love with “yes,” and the Christmas story is as we know it.

True Love comes to us in simplicity and vulnerability. It always involves risk. However, Love is anything but weak. Darkness and evil can never overcome Love. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:5, NLT). Love is greater than all fear. Perfect love expels all fear (1 John 5:18b). Love never fails. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

God revealed His love to us on the first Christmas. He reveals His love to us today. Rejoice in the wonders of His love.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son (John 1:14).

Prayer:

Thank You, Heavenly Father, that You are the God of perfect love. You are not far removed from us, but You sent Your love to us dwell among us. Help me to receive Your love this Christmas and always. Teach me to walk in Your love every day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Graphic designed by Jordanne Babcock

 

 

 

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Posted in Servant Leadership

On Leadership and Love

Should leaders love the people they lead? Conventional wisdom says, “NO! Leaders should maintain professional distance and focus on the business at hand. Success of the organization and personal advancement should be the primary concerns.” Thankfully, there is another approach. Servant leadership has been gaining credence since it was introduced by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s, especially in the church and non-profit sectors. Today many for-profit organizations, such as those listed in the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” support the servant leadership philosophy.

Love for others is what sets servant leadership apart from other leadership approaches. In fact, servant leadership involves more than engaging in the correct set of behaviors. It requires authentic character and genuine care for your followers. As Christians we are called to practice a higher type of leadership, modeled after the ministry of Jesus and marked by love.

What does this type of love look like?

  • Having a heart to serve others.
  • Putting others’ best interests above your own.
  • Caring about the welfare of the people working with you, and taking an interest in their personal lives.
  • Promoting kindness, respect, and honesty in the workplace.
  • Recognizing when others are feeling down without being told.
  • Having courage to speak into other people’s lives, even when it is difficult.
  • Investing in the holistic development of your followers.

Not to be mistaken with a warm, emotional feeling, servant leadership love is a moral love described by Bruce Winston as “Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.” It can be expressed as the Platinum Rule: Do to others as they would like you to do them. In 1 Corinthians 13 the Apostle Paul discussed the supremacy of love over the greatest possible exploits. No matter what amazing leadership feats we may accomplish, without love we are nothing and we gain nothing. One of the most popular verses in the Bible, John 3:16, portrays love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” Simply put…Love gives.

However, servant leadership is more about “being” and less about “doing.” At its best, servant leadership flows from the heart devoted to God. It is founded on a strong identity as being a child of the King. Servant leaders value what God values, and place priority on what God places priority–PEOPLE! Servant leaders view themselves as servants first rather than leaders first. They are servants and stewards rather than leaders and owners. They recognize leadership as a gift from God through which they can effectively serve others. Empowering followers and inspiring vision are expressed through love.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, servant leadership is not for the weak of heart. Rather, it takes great courage and conviction to take the posture of a servant and to love those entrusted to your care.

Leadership is influence; the foundation of influence must be love.

“Fortune: 100 Best Companies to Work For.” CNN Money. com
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/

Bruce Winston, Be a Leader For God’s Sake. (Virginia Beach, VA: School of Leadership Studies, 2002).