Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
This series of posts flows from two premises and one conclusion: (1) people follow leaders; (2) Jesus is The Perfect Leader; and therefore (3) everyone (including marketplace leaders) should consider following Jesus.
GREAT LEADERS ATTRIBUTE THEIR SUCCESS TO OTHERS
Following two years in the custody of Turkish authorities while awaiting trial on fabricated charges of aiding terrorism, Pastor Andrew Brunson was convicted on October 12, 2018 and sentenced to time served. Within 24 hours he went from the prospect of a 35 year prison sentence to praying for President Trump in the Oval Office! How’s that for a successful outcome?
In my view, Andrew Brunson is an extraordinary leader. By founding a local church in Izmir more than 20 years ago, he and his wife Norine became spiritual entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is inherently risky and they were well aware of the dangers. Even death threats were not uncommon as they led their small congregation and openly shared their faith in Jesus with everyone including Turks, Kurds and Syrian refugees. The certainty that God had called them to Turkey and their love for the Turkish people sustained them through many challenges.
Upon learning of his release, Mary and I rejoiced. Like thousands of believers around the world, we had been praying for Andrew for two years. We felt a special bond with him, since Andrew is the Middle East coordinator for Partners in Harvest, an affiliation created by our local church in Toronto with thousands of other local churches around the world.
As recounted in this moving interview, Andrew attributed his successful release to others. These included the thousands praying for him around the world and the many people and organizations who spoke up for him. Of particular note was President Trump and others in the US administration. Jay Sekulow, an attorney who serves as Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice, was instrumental in orchestrating a huge global outcry. Most importantly, Andrew and Norine gave thanks to God for acting through so many others to secure their release.
On a similar (but larger) scale, Jesus experienced great success during his earthly ministry. Many were healed, the dead were raised and even his enemies acknowledged his extraordinary wisdom. Perhaps surprisingly, Jesus attributed his success to someone else. In response to hostile questioning on one occasion, he replied, “‘… My Father is always working, and so am I…I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing…’”
Jesus, who is God the eternal Son, took on human flesh thereby constraining his power during his earthly sojourn. As a result, he acknowledged complete reliance on God the Father for his every success. In this interaction with his critics, Jesus gave credit where credit was due.
Considering Jesus’ example, I recognize I don’t always give credit to others (although I’m getting better all the time!). While hard for leaders to admit, we depend to a significant degree on others for any success we achieve. In particular, as a follower of Jesus, I need to constantly keep front of mind my dependence upon God.
How is your dependence quotient? Next week, I’ll examine further the concept of dependence upon God.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.