Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12, KJV
I have been thinking about what it means to be a leader, especially in the context of being a Christian.
Basically, to be a leader is to set an example that others can follow.
As Paul tells Timothy: “be…an example.”
Timothy was pastoring a church and as pastor he was called to lead the congregation; therefore, he was to set an example for his people to follow.
Few of us will be called to pastor a church, but I believe we are all called to “be…an example.”
I was talking with a friend of mine and she was sharing some reservations she had about sharing her problems with other people because it felt to her like that was failing to “consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
I explained to her something that helped me when I was struggling with some of the same feelings: Sharing our problems with others is a form of leadership.
It is setting an example that others can then follow. It is essentially saying, “I’m putting myself out there so you can know that you can put yourself out there, too, and I will listen to you the way you are listening to me.”
The truth is: Someone has to go first. Someone has to lead out. Someone has to be the example for others to follow.
It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be able to step up and be that example for other people, and in the economy of Heaven, the one who leads takes the lowest place. Whoever desires to be first must become “the slave of all,” so it does away with pride or any thoughts of being better than the people one is leading (Mark 10:44).
One does not lead as a Christian from a sense of superiority. Rather, one leads from a desire “to serve and not to be served” (Matthew 10:28; Mark 10:45).
The true Christian leader follows the example of Christ who “gave His life a ransom for many” and “made Himself poor that we might be made rich” (Mark 10:45 & 2 Corinthians 8:9). Let us follow His example and be leaders who set an example of humbling ourselves for the sake of others.
With God’s help,