The Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest motivator and example of living a purposeful life that the world has ever seen! He lived by the Scriptures since He is the living Word of God (John 1:1), and this is why all the greatest books on leadership and management operate with latent biblical principles, whether intentional or not.
The following seven principles are primary ways Jesus empowered and released purpose:
1. He asked questions. Instead of just giving the answers to life’s questions, Jesus demonstrated that the best way to teach people was to ask them questions. As a matter of fact, He asked over three hundred questions and only gave answers to three of them. When we allow people to answer questions, it reveals how much they really know, what’s really in their heart and involves them in the process of discovery that enables them to remember and learn better.
2. He had goals and objectives. If a person has no specific goals or desired outcomes, they will never know if they have succeeded or not. If a person has no vision or mission, they are clueless and have no idea what their final destination will be. In contrast, when Jesus began His ministry in Nazareth the first thing He did was announce His vision statement, which was found in the words of the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:18 and Is. 61:1,2). Furthermore, Jesus operated with objectives and goals which enabled Him to fulfill His mission and vision with a daily understanding of what, when and how to function (Luke 13:32).
3. He invested his time with those who bore fruit. The Pareto principle teaches us that 80 percent of the work done is accomplished by only twenty percent of the people in any given church or organization. Jesus was wise and invested most of His time with disciples who bore much fruit instead of with the crowds. (John 15:1-7 shows that He expected His followers to bear much fruit if they abided in Him.) Even though the Pareto theory was not yet written, Jesus knew that He would get the most results from pouring into a few rather than focusing on the many. Although He ministered to the crowds, the gospels clearly show that He invested most of His time with His twelve apostles and then the seventy disciples (Luke 9:1,10:1).
4. He confronted superficial religion. Jesus did not like superficial religion and attacked religious leaders who misrepresented the heart of His Father (Matt. 23). He insisted that religious leaders allow God to first cleanse the inner man before focusing on outward rituals and religion (Matt. 23:26; Mark 7:15). Jesus also taught that religious tradition often nullifies the word of God (Mark 7:13). Since He confronted superficial religion instead of placating it, He was able to raise up powerful men of God who demonstrated the truth with signs and wonders (Acts 3:6-7).
5. He confronted political power. When Jesus was with Pilate, He confessed that His primary purpose was to be recognized as the King (John 18:37). He was not afraid of offending those loyal to Caesar (which is the main reason He was crucified). He understood that the things that ruled external culture had to be shifted to another king and different gatekeepers if true systemic change was going to take place. Furthermore, He told Pilate that the power of His kingdom did not emanate from Rome but from His father (John 18:36). He did not say that His kingdom was not inthis world but that it was not of this world.
6. He was motivated by compassion. Jesus did not heal merely to demonstrate His lordship but because He was moved by compassion (Mark 1:41). He was great because He had empathy and connected to the pain of those around Him (Heb. 4: 15). Any leader without strong feelings of love for his people will not be motivated to serve and release them to greatness.
7. He was willing to die for His purpose. Life is not worth living if there is no transcendent purpose worth dying for. Jesus not only believed in His mission but also was willing to die on the cross in order to fulfill it (Heb. 12:2). Consequently, He was able to instill and inspire such passion in His followers that most of the original twelve apostles died a martyr’s death while preaching the gospel.
Truly, the seed of the early church was the blood of the first and second century church. Even today, two thousand years later, thousands of Christ followers continue to die for the cause of Christ, which is the main reason Christianity became the largest and most formidable movement in the history of the world!
Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, futurist, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He leads several organizations, including The United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma magazine called “The Pulse.” To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter, go to josephmattera.org.