Leadership skills are something that all of us need to develop to move to a higher level of success. Greater success is found when working with others on a joint mission, as this is evident when studying the success of any organization. Individuals can achieve success, but its reach is limited as you cannot be everything every time.
In Luke 2:41 – 52, we see the three things that lay the foundation for successful leadership. I agree it is an unlikely passage to recognize these principles. The passage is about Jesus visiting the temple in Jerusalem when he is 12 years old. He had gone there with his parents, and then Jesus decides to stay back without the knowledge of the parents. Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, after 5 days, find him talking to the temple leaders.
Jesus demonstrates at a young age the three fundamental principles that we need to show leadership. Here they are 1. Follow your vision 2. Listen and ask questions, and 3. The importance of patience. Let’s look at how Jesus applies these 3 fundamental principles in this situation.
Follow your vision
An overarching goal is essential to set the direction for any company. The same can be said about any individual’s life as well. The place we are going and what we would like to accomplish helps us judge every action and decision in light of that overarching goal.
A vision makes the decision-making process more straightforward as it helps one first see if an opportunity aligns with your purpose in life. In verse 49, we see Jesus demonstrating that “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” For Jesus, his decision to stay back in Jerusalem made perfect sense as it aligned with his overall purpose. There are few key things to note when following your vision from the action that Jesus took that day.
Jesus had to break the custom and tradition of children following their parents to make sure that he was about his Father’s business. In the same way, following the crowd may not get us to where we want to go. We need to break away from our culture and routines to accomplish what we have planned to accomplish. Any real change happens when one questions the norms of their time. Ford challenged the status quo of horse-ridden carriages of his day and designed a passenger car for the masses, and changed the future of mankind forever.
Jesus clearly stuck out from the crowd. The relatives and friends of Jesus who had traveled with him to take part in the festival traveled back with their parents and relatives but not Jesus. To accomplish His purpose, Jesus had to make a decision that made him stand out from the crowd.
Mary and Joseph did not understand the decision that Jesus took that day. The same will be confirmed in your situation as well. People around you, your family, and friends may not understand the decisions you take or the reason for the change you seek. They want to see you fit the same mental image that they have set up for you in their minds, but you have decided to grow and achieve great things. Therefore, it has now become necessary for you to stick out to become a better version of yourself.
Jesus realized that he needed more than what he was able to get in Nazareth for him to grow. The same is true for each of us. What we need is just outside our comfort zone. Meeting new people, conversing with them, taking part in new experiences, learning from other’s experiences will help you to grow faster. Your comfort zone limits your potential. Stepping outside of it is essential to serve a greater purpose in your life.
When you are on your journey, way out of your comfort zone, you need people you can trust to come looking for you. Jesus had that in Mary and Joseph. Jesus needed to stay back and have that conversation, but it was also necessary for Jesus to have the support of his earthly parents to be by his side. He could not do it all by himself.
Jesus repurposed a routine task to move forward with his vision. In verse 41, “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover,” Jesus’s family had done that every year, but this year was different as Jesus had bigger plans. He wanted to have more information to act on his vision. Do you have any routine tasks that you need to repurpose? Maybe you think the routine has become meaningless. If so, what can you do to add color to your vision? Inventing a new system is not strictly necessary. Repurposing, updating, and upgrading works equally well in most cases.
Listen and ask questions
Jesus demonstrates an essential principle in this situation which many of us fail to implement in our everyday lives. Most of the time, we approach conversations thinking about what it is that we want to say and our ideas that we want to present. Not Jesus v46 “listening to them and asking them questions.” Jesus did not show up at the temple to show off his skills, nor was he there to share what he thought; instead, Jesus listened and asked questions. Listening and understanding others can help you develop a product that can benefit the customer base that you seek to reach. If you created a product in a vacuum, you run the risk of not making any sales.
Apple was able to revolutionize the personal music business because they listened to the issues people had with a Walkman and worked to correct it with the iPod, making all the difference in the market.
Jesus shows us that humility and not arrogance is critical to our success. V.47 “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” Jesus used the opportunity to learn from the competition instead of wasting the opportunity to show the competition what he knew. Jesus being humble, demonstrated great understanding by speaking less and listening more.
Moses failed to listen to the people of Israel even though his intentions were great. He wanted to lead them and provide them deliverance, but his product was rejected by the people of Israel. Had Mosses asked questions and listened, he could have saved a lot of time. It took Moses another 40 years to have another chance at delivering the people of Israel. We can save ourselves a lot of trouble if we follow Jesus’ example.
The importance of patience
Here we see an essential lesson demonstrated by Jesus. Jesus made a bold move and stood out from the crowd, but he is not arrogant. Jesus did not refuse to follow his parents nor declare that he is beginning his work aged 12. Read v 51 “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.” Jesus was willing to wait for the divine time to come. He was in no rush. Success is not achieved by hastiness but with calculated discipline.
Jesus waited 18 years from this moment to start his ministry. In the instant culture that we are part of, we may believe that everything should happen immediately, but nature does not work that way. Life takes time. You can compare your vision to making a loaf of bread: one needs to mix the ingredients, let it sit, and allow the yeast to do its work. After a while, you put it in the oven, and you get to enjoy delicious bread. If any of the processes is rushed, your end product will not be bread, and you will have to start all over again.
In verse 51, the phrase “went down to” is used, and it means that you have returned to the place you very badly want to leave. You may have to stay in the circumstance even though your thinking and ability exceed them. It is a benefit as you can stay away from the distraction and patiently prepare to execute your vision.
It took only 3.5 years for Jesus to execute his vision. The effect of his sacrifice is evident even today. It motivates us, gives us hope and a purpose to face life. Jesus’s patience paid off. Jesus did not need 40 years to execute his vision; he did it in 3.5 years because he prepared for 18 years. Your preparation is more critical than your execution.
In v 52, we read, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Patience produces wisdom, reputation, and favor in the eyes of God. Jesus demonstrated the 3 principles that we need for leadership perfectly. A vision drives your decision-making to communicate to listen and not prove oneself, and finally be patient and wait to execute your plan. Moses had to take a detour of 40 years because he failed to listen, while Jesus’ patience helped him to prepare for 18 years to accomplish the plan of salvation that has affected the entire universe.