Leadership 101: Meek and Lowly of Heart

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)

   Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


I didn’t get it.
Have you ever felt something was wrong, but couldn’t quite put your finger on it? This was often how I felt about pastoring. I knew the call of God on my life was genuine, I knew I had a vision from God concerning the church, and I knew I was blessed to be surrounded by quality people. But still, something seemed wrong. I always felt driven. I felt driven to work harder, driven to be a better leader, driven to produce more results.

The pressures of my life were real and stressful at times: the dynamics of a large family, extremely painful church transitions, personal financial concerns, and blurred boundaries between family and ministry. In it all, I was driven to do better. Honestly, Jesus’ words about His yoke being easy and His burden being light did not ring true with me. I had a dilemma: something wasn’t working; I wasn’t getting it, and I knew it—but didn’t know what it was!

Jesus indicated that the solution to my dilemma was experiencing more of His heart of meekness and humility. This concept may not be taught in most leadership courses, but I think it’s fundamental to a leader’s genuine effectiveness. Leadership 101 is all about meekness and lowliness of heart!

Despite my good intentions to the contrary, I was subtly placing my confidence in myself: my skills, my abilities, my responsibility. No wonder I had problems! I recognized one of key signs of self-reliance: my self-acceptance was based on a performance mentality. It’s almost as if I was driven to “succeed” so that I could say to my self (and to my detractors!), See, I’m doing great, and God is obviously blessing me!”

It is a divine irony: God gives us gifts and abilities to use for His work, but if we rely and trust in them rather than in Him, we remove ourselves from experiencing His blessing. An attitude of surrender and awareness of need rooted in humility allows me to use God’s gifts, and still fully rely on Him.

I’m still driven, but now it’s in a vastly different way: my need for Jesus drives me to rely on Him! He said His yoke was easy and His burden was light. I’m starting to get it!