Thrive – the word itself brings visions of flourishing, doesn’t it? Of a person who is prospering, growing, progressing, and bearing fruit in such a way that the service they offer to others as they lead is a sincere pleasure, a deep delight, and a true joy.
“…but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.”
Clearly, the Father intended for us to thrive. After all, He came that we might have life and have it to the full! But what does a thriving leadership life look like?
As always, the answer lies in Scripture – both in the wisdom of the ancients and in the metaphor of The Good Shepherd.
In John 10, Jesus used this metaphor to illustrate leadership at its finest and provided a living example of how to thrive as a leader … by putting the lives of the sheep above all else. “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” A good shepherd would lay across the one opening of the sheep’s pen at night to ensure the sheep do not exit and that predators do not enter … risking his or her life for the sheep.
Sacrifice. Service. Sheep above self.
A true shepherd risks everything for the safety, comfort, and well-being of the sheep. Whether concerned with provision by traveling ahead to scout the terrain and assure there’s a water source available, with protection by considering and understanding the habits of the predators in the area, or with presence by being available to ensure the entire flock is accounted for, an effective shepherd first considers the needs of his sheep. And the leader and his or her flock thrives.
Can you imagine how the sheep in our lives would thrive under the abundant-life leadership of a shepherd CEO, board member, supervisor, manager, or team leader. Imagine how children would thrive under a shepherd parent?
Can you imagine how your team would perform differently or work more cohesively … or thrive … if you shepherded as Jesus illustrated?
What does abundant-life leadership look like? Serving the sheep through the provision, protection, and presence of the shepherd … the same way The Good Shepherd leads us.