Are you his leader?

Whenever a person introduces another as "He was my disciple" or himself as "I was his leader" especially when this other person is an adult, I'm not sure how to describe my feelings - unease? indignance? sad?

While the statements may be true, I can't help but wonder, "What is the leader's motivation in stating their previous superior-subordinate/leader-follower relationship?" Is it pride ... to tell others of his senior status? Is it a boost to his self-esteem? Is it a put-down ... to remind the other person of his junior status? Or is it simply naivety?

Even if the statement describes a present relationship, there is no room for pride. You can learn from your disciples.

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests,
but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4
When there is a strict, rigid leader-follower relationship, there is no fellowship of the Spirit, no bond of love, only joyless obedience.

Jesus called us friends!

Amazing but true ... Jesus Christ, the Creator and Lord of the universe has called us friends! Not servants but friends!
15 "No longer do I call you slaves,
for the slave does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15
A slave is expected to do what his master instructs him to do, whether or not he likes it, and whether or not he understands why he is commanded to do it. Slaves usually receive orders but no explanations or reasons for their orders. Jesus who has every right to rule us, to command us, chooses to treat us as friends! What then is the difference between a servant of God and an intimate friend of God? Jesus proved to His disciples that they were His friends by revealing the Father's will to them. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for His friends (v 13). Jesus demonstrated His love and friendship with us by dying for us. How have you demonstrated your (1) love and (2) friendship to your disciple(s)?

Are you his leader ... and no more?

In response, Jesus desires us to willingly obey in love. 14 "You are My friends if you do what I command you."

There is a big difference between a boss and a friend. To my boss, I have an obligation to do my work ... to obey. To my friend, I will open my heart and share my deepest struggles and feelings. If your disciple sees you as a leader and no more, what would he tell you? Would he be comfortable talking to you the way he would with his friends? If he does not open his heart to you, how would you lead him? How would you relate the Word of God to him?

Are You A Friend?

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Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © July 2007 by Alan S.L. Wong