Do you ever think about these really huge businesses that were born out of one person’s mind and had major impact on our lives? How does someone like that retire? How do they prepare to leave? The product or service has become bigger than anything they could have imagined and there are businesses built around supporting this business. The impact on people is so huge there is a responsibility to foster a transfer of leadership that everyone working and everyone buying will trust.
I wondered that about Apple. I wondered it about the Walmart/Sam’s Club. I am sure if you think very long about it you could come up with a list yourself. How are they doing without the creator/founder still involved. In these cases, they have passed. They can’t even give their input to whoever took over.
Transitions are hard. Most of the times we are focused on the leader, if they are stepping down due to health or age. But the leader is thinking about his/her legacy, the future of products or services that he/she will not be around to nurture. He/She is thinking about the people that make the business run, that create, market and serve. Will they have the confidence to carry on without the “celebrity” at the head and will their buyers and investors trust the new leadership to do what the original leader would have done.
Passing the Torch
God has given us the Bible to teach us, to give us His example and yes, even in situations like passing the torch, there are several situations to look at both good and bad.
Moses had disobeyed God and though he had been chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land, God would not allow him to cross over. He told him that he would die in the dessert and the new generation would be the ones to first put their feet on the ground.
Moses was concerned for those he had led for all of those years and pleaded with the Lord for a new leader to be given to them.
“Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.
So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.” Numbers 27 : 15 – 19
In churches, this is still the practice. A commissioning takes place in front of the people with the leadership present both past and incoming and hands are laid on and prayers are offered.
The same can be said for our own government with the exception of the laying on of hands. Our past president and family, as well as all former presidents able to, come to the ceremony where the incoming president and his family are to be sworn in before the people so that it is a very visible and peaceful transition. The goal is that all people, including other world leaders, have a sense of peace that the torch has been passed.
There are also examples of what happens when order is not followed.
King David was very likely near death. It says he could no longer stay warm even with blankets and one of his sons decided that he would fill the void of his ailing father and make himself king!
“Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)” 1 Kings 1 : 5 – 6
Interesting that the Bible goes even farther to teach us about rearing our children and how they may turn out if we do not train them up correctly.
But what kind of person determines they will be king in place of their father the kind who is not dead yet and does not even go to him and ask if he would appoint him king?
Adonijah went forward with his own plans. He made an announcement, made sacrifices and was holding a feast. Meanwhile, the mother of the son who was promised the throne goes to the king.
“She said to him, “My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: ‘Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.’ But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. He has sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he has not invited Solomon your servant. My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.” 1 Kings 1 : 17 – 20
In her last line she states ” the eyes of all Israel are on you to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. ” This is proper transition. This is the order that God has modeled for us to follow. This is the process that works because only the one in authority can pass his authority.
When someone usurps authority, the force behind the take over is not from God and the leadership will be done with wrong motives and not be good for the people or the company.
Jesus was about to leave. He had brought the teaching He was to bring. He had introduced Himself as the Messiah, Son of God. He was the life-saving plan that had been determined before time began. Yet now, His time to spread the message was coming to a close, very rapidly.
The Disciples had already been seen as extensions of Jesus leadership. They were able to heal the sick and cast out demons. They lived with Jesus and walked with Him daily.
The True Passover Lamb, The Lamb of God
It was the beginning of the celebration of Passover. The night when the first born of every Egyptian family and animal was killed and the Israelites were instructed to put the blood of a lamb across their door posts so the Angel of the Lord would pass over these homes and spare the child and animals.
This was symbolic (it was real but a symbol of what was to come) to what was about to happen where the innocent blood of The Lamb of God, Jesus would be spilled on the posts of a cross in order that those who are of that family that believe in Him will have eternal life and escape death. The lamb was to be without blemish, also a reference to the Holy life Jesus must live in order to pay the price for us.
“‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12 : 12 – 13
The disciples were following the law of remembrance that they were to have a feast for seven days and asked Jesus where they were to have the meal.
A New Covenant, A New Celebration
“Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6 : 53 – 58
This is the prelude to what was about to happen at Jesus Last Supper.
The Scripture above from John caused many to fall away from following Jesus. They did not understand His teaching and how they could eat His flesh and drink His blood.
I have to be honest, had I been around then I may have felt the same way. It sounds like cannibalism. It sounds like the sacrifices that are used in Satanic worship now. But Jesus knew there were those who would not believe.
“Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” John 6 : 64 – 65
As they gathered for the feast of the unleavened bread, Jesus spoke to His closest friends and those who would carry on after He was gone.
” When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22 : 14 – 16
Still to this day Jesus waits to share this meal with us in heaven. This is real and this is now…it is not history. Jesus eagerly waits. Remember in Ever Ready that Jesus does not even know the hour of His return for us. Matthew 24 : 36
He then takes the feast that had been celebrated since Passover and put a NEW meaning to it.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26 : 26 – 29
All of a sudden there was contention in the room. Very unseemly for those who were to carry on for Christ.
“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Luke 22 : 24
As if Jesus did not have enough on His mind considering He knew that tonight He would be betrayed and taken into custody. He had to lay more foundation work to those who would be His new leadership.
“Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” Luke 22 : 25 – 28
Then as seen in previous examples, Jesus commissioned them first in private.
Then in an act to completely send that message home to them all. Jesus took a towel and wrapped it around His waste and got a bowl of water.
“The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13 : 2 – 5
Some of the disciples were disturbed by this. He was their Master, the Son of God and He was on His knees washing the most filthy part of their body.
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13 : 12 – 17
The Servant Leader
Jesus commissioned us all as we read in Mission Statement. We are His ambassadors. We are the teachers. We are the ones with the gifts of the Spirit and have been called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to pray for one another, to lead lives that shine for Him, to heal the sick, to do miracles, to cast out demons. Mark 16 : 15 – 17
It is a tall order, but for more than 2000 years there remains a remnant of believers who take their role and embrace it as servant leaders.
Being the head of this or that is irrelevant and could tempt someone into corruption. Do not be intimidated by your position or lack of it. You were commissioned from Jesus, publicly. No different that King Solomon was by David.
When Jeremiah was fearful of the call on his life, God spoke to tell him:
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
Jeremiah 1 : 6 – 12
So you say, I am too old. You do not understand. That was what Moses said, that was what Abraham said. There will always be an excuse that one can come up with but when God has called you- And He has! -then if you love Him you will obey Him and seek to do His will.
He is not calling on all kings and presidents, pastors and priests – He is calling you.
Realize that God planted a great many gifts inside you. Some of the most influential people do not hold great positions. They have respect from those who know them and when they speak, people trust them. Also don’t forget that in Fresh Start, Jesus is more concerned with the one. So it only takes one to influence one doesn’t it?
You have to believe and have faith that you are called and that you have been commissioned. Imagine a leader who does not feel worthy to lead. People will not follow them. People will know they don’t have the conviction of their beliefs to make them worthy of their time.
Should we not take our position, just as it was in David’s rule, others with the wrong motives and false teachings will move forward to steal, kill and destroy people. It has already happened hasn’t it? Those who look at the wars we are fighting now are blind if they believe they are territorial. Look at why they kill, they are happy to tell you. Yet while we do not step into servant leadership, others are persuaded by their lies to join and follow these false teachers.
I encourage you in your study time to read the Parable of the Gold in Matthew 25 However, here is the last verse of it.
“For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away.” Matthew 25 : 29
God does place expectations on us based on what He has put inside of us. What a thrill it is to accept it and realize the eternal impact you can make as a servant leader for the greatest kingdom of all. He is confident that His kingdom will not suffer because of those He has passed the torch to.
Let us pray for the wisdom, courage and faith as well as love and heart and compassion to carry it out.
*Take a moment and think about companies that you know of that have had its founders pass or retire. Are they still in business? Are they as strong? Did they change and move away from the values that they had previously? Consider for example how a Chick Filet could someday be run by someone who believes they are losing a lot of money being closed on Sundays and decides to change it.
*Consider history also, can you think of a time when there was a coup? A time where there was not a smooth transition or leadership in this country or your country was questioned?
*Now look at Jesus last supper and how He left the duty to move forward with His disciples. Do you remember that Jesus told them He was sending in reinforcement? What was that about?
*How about you, are you convinced yet that you actually have a role to play and that God sees you no differently than your pastor or priest? You have been commissioned. How are you going to respond?
Heavenly Father, Jesus spent His last supper, threaded with the knowledge of betrayals and beatings, serving His disciples. He was taking the Passover and giving it the meaning that would soon include those outside of the Israelites, an innocent lamb with no blemish would be slaughtered and the blood on the posts a sign that those who believed could not be taken by death. He changed the feast of the unleavened bread into what we now take as His Body and His Blood shed for the remission of our sins. This evening as many will partake in this meal, let us all be made aware that Jesus will not be partaking but waiting. Waiting for the moment that You, Father will say The Time Has Come. May we carry the mantles passed down to us and use them as You guide. Thank You for the gift we have received in Jesus, the Servant King. Amen.
I hope you get the opportunity to take part in that meal today or this evening. You can even do it in your own home with your family as was the practice of the Israelites with Passover. Remember Jesus commissioned you. You do not need someone to stand in on your behalf and bless this meal. Jesus did it and does it today if you ask Him. I pray you take the time this evening to remember Him and contemplate how special this was to Him that He waits on you to join Him at the table in heaven. Blessings,