Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.”
The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?”
Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.
Empower your people. When Pete sent me this scripture yesterday, I reflected on it as I drove back and forth to the kids’ activities. I kept hearing the same thing over and over, “Empower your people.” After healing many many people, Jesus did not look at his own exhaustion, but felt for the people who had been there all day to witness or perhaps personally experience one of His miracles. They were tired and hungry. Jesus recognized this and used what little they could find to make it enough for the people to eat. He nourished them.
Pete took this one step further in his own reflection. He added that Jesus uses what little we have to equip us for His mission; just like the loaves and the fish. You see, when we go to Jesus with all our heart, sometimes we are broken. Jesus uses this brokenness to equip us for His mission. He makes us worthy to speak God’s truth.
Jesus empowers us.
Can you think of the best bosses you have had in life? My guess is they empowered you to do your work. They equipped you with whatever you needed, but accepted you where you were at. That boss probably nudged you gently down the pathway that all along he wanted you to take, but he wanted you to find it on your own. Because of the respect you had for that boss, you listened and heeded his word. You knew that he too had experienced the same problems and obstacles that you were experiencing – he had wisdom and you trusted him because he shared that wisdom with you.
He empowered you.
Now think of a boss that micro-managed you. It was horrible, right? He beat you down with his own suggestions (which really weren’t suggestions but orders). He controlled every single move you made. He took credit for all the work that was accomplished and rarely gave you praise.
He controlled you.
Can you see the difference? Jesus uses servant-leadership to show you the way. He comes to where you are and meets you there. He guides you gently, allowing you to make mistakes and not shaming you for those errors. He picks you up and uses those mistakes to make you even better at your job. He shows you that you don’t need praise because you feel His respect and love – and that is enough.
The micro-manager uses power to destroy all your work. He takes all the credit. He pushes you further down when you make mistakes. He controls you by making himself look better than you. He never admits his own errors. He doesn’t gently guide you, but yanks you into the place he wants you to be. You are a pawn to his success.
Jesus empowers us to work with him. He looks out for us – more so than himself. He lifts us up when we feel down and tired and broken. He shows us the beauty of humility and never shames us for our mistakes.
Empower your people. It is a beautiful way to lead.