A friend of mine sent a talk over for me to read. It was entitled, Jesus the Perfect Leader by President Spencer W. Kimball to the Young Presidents organization, Sun Valley, Idaho, 15 January 1977. It was so timely for me to read these very amazing thoughts. I wanted to share a few here. A full copy of the talk can be found here, the whole thing is worth a read.
President Kimball began by saying that if we wanted to be good leaders and examples we should follow that of the Savior, whose “attributes and skills he demonstrated so perfectly. These same skills and qualities are important for us all if we wish to succeed as leaders in any lasting way.” By leaders, I think that roles as parents can be counted even as importantly as those leadership opportunities over vast congregations or employees.
He went on to say the following:
- Jesus kept himself virtuous, and thus, when his closeness to the people permitted them to touch the hem of his garment, virtue could flow from him. (See Mark 5:24–34.)
I want to study the relationship between virtue and power.
The other day, I watched a show about people who hoard things, usually so much that it makes living in the home virtually impossible. A woman on this particular episode had mountains of clothes and shoes in her home. And I mean mountains – floor to ceiling with barely a hallway in-between to get to the next room of clothes. She said that she was “high maintenance” and loved to have “lots of choices.” The therapist on the show said something to the effect of, “haven’t you noticed that having too many choices, in reality, takes away all of your choices.”
It’s such an interesting (and seemingly opposite) idea that if you put limits on things, it actually gives you more power, more choices, more freedom.
So the connection between the Savior’s virtue and His ability to have that virtue flow out of Him that effectively heals others – still working on that. Any thoughts? If that is true, then what conclusions can be drawn about a virtuous priesthood holder?
Another idea that I loved from the talk:
- Jesus had perspective about problems and people. He was able to calculate carefully at long range the effect and impact of utterances, not only on those who were to hear them at the moment, but on those who would read them 2,000 years later. So often, secular leaders rush in to solve problems by seeking to stop the present pain, and thereby create even greater difficulty and pain later on.
I say way too much. I need to calculate the impact of my utterances more – with my students, friends, family, spouse, and especially with my children.
There was a section on Responsibility, which I could spend hours on, but here’s the jist:
- Jesus knew how to involve his disciples in the process of life. He gave them important and specific things to do for their development. Other leaders have sought to be so omnicompetent that they have tried to do everything themselves, which produces little growth in others.
- Jesus trusts his followers enough to share his work with them so that they can grow. That is one of the greatest lessons of his leadership. If we brush other people aside in order to see a task done more quickly and effectively, the task may get done all right, but without the growth and development in followers that is so important. Because Jesus knows that this life is purposeful and that we have been placed on this planet in order to perform and grow, growth then becomes one of the great ends of life as well as a means. We can give corrective feedback to others in a loving and helpful way when mistakes are made.
- Jesus let people know that he believed in them and in their possibilities, and thus he was free to help them stretch their souls in fresh achievement.
- Jesus believed in his followers, not alone for what they were, but for what they had the possibilities to become. While others would have seen Peter as a fisherman, Jesus could see him as a powerful religious leader—courageous, strong—who would leave his mark upon much of mankind. In loving others, we can help them to grow by making reasonable but real demands of them.
I think that giving others responsibility is such a powerful idea, and can be life-changing – both mine and others.
Accountability was another section:
- A good leader will remember he is accountable to God as well as to those he leads. By demanding accountability of himself, he is in a better position, therefore, to see that others are accountable for their behavior and their performance. People tend to perform at a standard set by their leaders.
Taking honest responsibility for our actions, without blaming others or situations for our reactions is powerful. Even better is training ourselves to react in more appropriate ways when life throws a curve ball. For example, instead of swearing when your child knocks over a drink, perhaps comfort and a helping hand will go a long way to give the child a secure environment and a pattern to follow.
There is a section on the wise use of time, having time for leisure and structuring time without being “frantic or officious”:
- Time cannot be recycled. When a moment has gone, it is really gone. The tyranny of trivia consists of its driving out the people and moments that really matter. Minutia holds momentous things hostage, and we let the tyranny continue all too often. Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves.
I just keep reading and re-reading this last. How can I train my children to understand this? How can I teach myself to do this?
My final thought from this talk is so encouraging, it makes we want to be better, to do better:
- One of the great teachings of the Man of Galilee, the Lord Jesus Christ, was that you and I carry within us immense possibilities. In urging us to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, Jesus was not taunting us or teasing us. He was telling us a powerful truth about our possibilities and about our potential. It is a truth almost too stunning to contemplate. Jesus, who could not lie, sought to beckon us to move further along the pathway to perfection.