Who's in Command?



The movie "Captain Phillips" presents a comparison of leaders in command (an American and a Somali) plunged into a tense struggle for survival. A great contrast is seen between the American captain and the Somali warlord, of whom we only see a glimpse, in how they handle their crew.

The captain understood his role, yet cared for the welfare of his men and ship. The warlord intimidated his crew and used people for his own gain.

Solomon reminds us that a person's character is revealed by how they treat people, and even animals (Prov. 12:10).

Servant leaders

Another genuine man-in-command was finally awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor and care for his soldiers. It took four years to be recognized.

Why so long? He spoke the truth and it cost him.

This last example personifies the type of leaders God desires for His kingdom. People who are willing to lay down their lives for others and who uphold the truth.

Of course, this is what we see in Jesus. Many Bible quotes could be given, but I'd prefer you'd discover these on your own by reading the gospels.

Jesus is the epitome of the true servant leader. He knew His role and He showed His great love for His followers, including all humanity.

As far as command, Jesus would be a general, not a captain.

Jesus is the epitome of the true servant leader

But what about those of us who are not generals?

A leader of leaders

Our classic example, after Jesus, is the apostle Paul. Stripped of his role and authority as a defender of the Jewish faith, he was humbled and set aside for a time (Acts 9:1-9; 26-30). Then God raised him up as a leader of leaders.

This is seen in his admonition to Timothy, his son in the faith—

Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses.

Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (2 Tim 2:1-2 NLT)

The text above is what's in my heart for the ministry of Word-Strong because discipleship is more of a way of life than anything else. This is what we see with Jesus and His followers.

The idea is not just teaching and training to raise up leaders, but mentoring people who also mentor others.

Great leaders teach, train, and mentor others who also mentor others

This is what Jesus refers to by calling Himself the Vine—

“I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me. 

You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples. I have appointed you to go, to produce fruit that will last...." (John 15:5, 8, 16 GW)

Results or relationship?

We, generally, focus more on results than the development of our relationship with the Lord. Next week, I want to look at what is vital and essential for discipleship the way Jesus made disciples.

Based on what Jesus says in the text above, what do you see are two vital elements of discipleship?

Keep in mind, the Lord is far more interested in the process of being a disciple than what results from it.

The Lord is far more interested in the process of being a disciple than results

Can our priority for discipleship match the Lord's? Of course... if we're willing to see what the Lord sees as essential to discipleship.

What do you think are two vital elements of discipleship?