What does a leader love? The answer will tell you a great deal about the leader. Jesus said it this way,
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus was referencing heavenly treasure vs. earthly treasure. But the principle applies in a broad way. What a person treasures tells you where their heart is. So I ask again, What does a leader treasure?
Leader Loves – The Good
I am generally talking about church leaders. And more specifically, I am talking about pastors. What does a church leader love? What should they love? Maybe they love things like:
- Church Growth
Those things are good and seem worthy of love. Wouldn’t you agree? But even these good things are not worthy of possessing a leader’s heart!
Leader Loves – The Lesser
The religous leaders of Jesus’ day loved some things. And what they loved is an informative indictment against them. Jesus pointed these things out in Mark 12:38-40 ~
Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.
That seems bad enough by itself. However, we need to understand what some of these terms really mean. Notice:
- Long robes – Worn by the wealthier people; those who enjoyed some leisure
- Greetings – Recognition of their ‘status’ in society
- Chief seats – Always at the head of the line; demanding the ‘perks’ of their position
- Devouring – Taking advantage of the misfortune of others; not protectors of God’s people
- Long Prayers – Showmanship in worship and/or the workplace, i.e. Look how spiritual I am!
The Scribes were intended to be trustworthy leaders. Jesus told the people to beware of them. What they loved showed they were not worthy of trust. And when we ‘translate’ the things they loved to modern equivalents we can see striking similarities to many of today’s church leaders. (Just calling it what it is!) The leaders Jesus described were no longer protectors of God’s people. They were predators.
It’s interesting that Jesus’ description of those leaders came on the heels of stating the Greatest Commandment. It is a stark contrast. Loving God with one’s total being will include loving the people and things that God loves. Those leaders professed to love God first, but their actions proved otherwise.
A trustworthy leader is one who doesn’t settle for good when Best is available. The things listed above (preaching, teaching, etc.) are good things. But there is One much more worthy. He is the Best One. And if a leader loves Him more than life itself, then he/she is worthy of trust. And even this idea is in the text at hand.
After describing suspect leaders, Jesus observed the widow who put all she had into the offering. She was the leader worth imitating. Why? She set an example of loving God enough to trust Him with everything she was and everything she had. And that is what God demands of leaders.