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Lead by Waiting for God’s Timing…And Live Like Jesus By R, Scott Rodin

Today concludes this series on the five surefire ways to lose your reputation as a leader…and live like Jesus. 

For everyone in leadership who wants to follow Jesus, I suggested on Monday that the best place to start is Philippians 2:7, where Paul tells us that Jesus “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.”

It does not say that Jesus became a man of bad or questionable reputation, but simply of no reputation. That is, reputation, image, prestige, prominence, power, and other leadership trappings were devalued and purposefully dismissed. Jesus became such a man not by default or accident but by intention and design. Only in this form could he serve love, give, teach, and, yes, lead. (Excerpted from The Steward Leader, IVP 2010, p. 12).

I pray that after this week,  you are ready to lead in a selfless, sacrificial way.  Go back and review where we’ve been this week:

(1) Fail to live up to other’s expectations

(2) Tell the truth

(3) Don’t defend yourself

(4) Defy success

And finally, read carefully today’s post.

(5) Lead by waiting for God’s timing in everything.  

We live and lead in an age of rapid change and the pressure it puts on leaders to make quick decisions.  Almost certainly the need for decisiveness will conflict with our desire to follow God’s guidance and lead according to God’s timing. When those two collide, consider the story of Lazarus.  Jesus gets word that his dear friend Lazarus is deathly ill.  The Great Physician, the healer and miracle worker, is alerted that his power is needed to save his friend’s life.  Surely, he will jump up and go at once to his aid.  What other possible reaction could he have?

Jesus, however, does not react as others expect.  Instead, we are told that “When he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.”  And while Jesus tarried, while he was seemingly unwilling to make a decision promptly, Lazarus died.

I can only imagine that the disciples were urging Jesus to act, questioning his decision to delay, and even starting to doubt the sincerity of all of his talk about loving one’s neighbor.  If he couldn’t even be bothered to come to the aid of his dying friend, what does it say about everything else he has been teaching?

Martha, too, had her doubts.  She meets the Messiah with a thinly veiled accusation, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  In other words, you let us down, you weren’t the person we thought you were, you failed us when we needed you most.  The reputation of the Son of God was being called into question.

The dialogue that follows and Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead serve to exonerate his decision to wait.  His delay provided him with one of the most powerful teaching moments in all of Scripture. All because Jesus chose obedience to God’s timing over preserving his reputation for those two short days.

I believe as leaders there is as much to learn about Jesus’ decision to wait as there is in his miraculous actions.  Jesus demonstrates that we are to do God’s will above all else… all else!  Jesus remained for two days in obedience to the work God sent him to do.  He did not give in to pressure to jump to the solution and be the hero.  He did not take matters into his own hands (thanks, Lord, but I’ve got this one covered).  And while he waited, he did not run around trying to shore up his reputation and correct any misunderstandings people may have of his actions or, in this case, his inaction.

He obeyed and waited until God’s timing was right.

One of the hardest yet most freeing lessons I learned about Christian leadership is that we are not the caretakers of our own reputation.  We obey God’s leading and trust God with our reputation. When we try to do it ourselves, we are constantly distracted by the need to manage and manipulate how others see us.  Too often, we worry so much about what people may think that we shrink back from doing what God calls us to do.

Leaders committed to following Christ will continually find themselves in situations where reputation must be set aside in favor of obedience. One of those is our need to wait for God’s timing and avoid the pressure to make decisions according to our timelines, respond to worldly pressures, and meet human demands and expectations.

Decisions without discernment always end in disaster. Waiting on God takes courage and sometimes makes us seem cowardly, indecisive, and uncaring. Waiting requires patience that might be mistaken for procrastination.  Waiting requires faith and may cause many to question our fortitude.

Yet following Christ as a leader means setting aside the need to build and nurture our own reputation.  It requires an unwavering faith in God’s perfect timing and, while we wait, taking on the mantle of a leader of no reputation.

“They all wait for you, and you give them their meat in due season.” Psalm 104:27


Dr. Scott Rodin has been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for twenty-five years. He has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the country and in Canada and Great Britain, including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries, and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at Kingdom Life Publishing.


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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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