Relational Influence – Part 1
A Kingdom Style of leadership is, above all else, relational.
Jerusalem | Judea | Samaria
In what has become known as the Great Commission, Jesus spoke a message that carried significant weight far beyond simply the position of geographical cities. Jerusalem, the City of David, was located within Judea, the nation of God’s people. This nation had long been fought over, and carried an identity of both conqueror and conquered. For lots of reasons, one of its closest and fiercest adversaries were the neighboring people of Samaria.
Our modern-day Jerusalem
For Christian leaders in the marketplace, our assignment is one that calls us to love and invest deeply in relationship with the people directly under our care. We can make the connection then that this particular realm of influence is our modern-day “Jerusalem.” Our ongoing engagement with the people closest to us is not just a strategy; it is a strategic Kingdom assignment. This assignment beckons us to engage beyond simply knowing the names and titles of the people with whom we work. We are called to love and invest deeply!
Taking care of one’s own “tribe” certainly has Scriptural basis, but it also is just good business practice. A loved and cared-for employee will be more fulfilled and work harder! That’s a win-win!
Our modern-day Judea & Samaria
Let’s pivot for a moment from the idea of focusing internally (Jerusalem) to focusing on the next wave of relational opportunity – those just outside our organizations (Judea & Samaria). Beyond our own walls, we soon encounter other groups of people: customers, vendors, competitors, and even adversaries. What’s the Kingdom obligation to that circle of influence?
The story of the Good Samaritan is told in Luke 10:25-37. Upon further contextual exploration, we can uncover that Jesus, in typical Jewish rabbinical fashion, was actually making reference to an Old Testament story hidden in the book of 2 Chronicles.
In chapter 28 we read that the new king of Judah had forsaken the righteous ways of his fathers, and had taken a deep dive into outright evil. The story tells us that God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria…and they defeated him…then he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with a great slaughter (v.5). Syria was a clear-cut enemy, but the nation of Israel? Essentially, it was family! Together, they had once been a mighty nation, but had split into two different neighboring and warring nations. This 2 Chronicles story reveals that 120,000 valiant men of Judah were killed in one day! Furthermore, the people of Israel carried away captive 200,000 now-widowed women and children, along with much spoil.
“But a prophet of the Lord was there.”
In Chapter 28, verse 9 we read, “But a prophet of the Lord was there.” That phrase leads to a remarkable, and largely unexpected turn of events. Just as the soldiers attempted to transition their captors into slaves, they were confronted by a prophet of the Lord who provided divine instruction. Instead of slavery, the Lord had a different plan for this defeated and grieving Judean tribe! Their identity was not going to be marked by death and destruction after all!
Submitting under conviction, this group of leaders gave instruction for an extraordinary act of grace and kindness to be extended to this group of grieving people from Judah. The instructions were that their wounds be bandaged, their nakedness be clothed, their hunger be satisfied, and their freedom restored! On top of that, many of them were anointed with oil and given donkeys on which to ride! Actions like these were reserved for royal coronations!
Do you see it? Prisoners being treated like kings. Loss being restored. The competition being honored.
Tying it together
Referring again to our Good Samaritan story, we can now perceive the parallel Jesus was drawing. He was not just making a point about Jews and Samaritans or mere geography. He was issuing a widespread calling to love and engage deeply – beyond the walls that border our comfort zone. He, of course, did not just issue a calling for others; He stepped into this story, making it personal. He, too, would later ride on a donkey while anointed with oil in the face of His adversary. His response? Love. Deep, engaging, transforming love.
Customers, vendors, competitors, and even adversaries – those just beyond our organizational walls – what should we now say about our Kingdom obligation to that circle of influence?
- What relationships lie directly under your care (your “Jerusalem”)? How deeply are you engaging with each of them?
- What relationships lie just outside your internal sphere of influence (your “Judea & Samaria”)? To what extent are you engaging with them in a Kingdom style?
A Kingdom style of leadership is, above all else, relational.
May the Kingdom of God advance in our organizations, and in the broader marketplace as we love and invest deeply into lives of people!
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