My mother was the chief sacrifice in our family. She was a little lady, seemingly unimportant to others. There was nothing outstanding about her at first glance. Most people wouldn’t have looked twice at her. But she gave everything for her husband and her two boys. And by everything, I mean everything.
She taught me to read the Bible and to love the Word of God. She taught me Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 and how to pray and how to worship. And so that we might have a good education, she worked the night shift cleaning passenger train carriages. Because I loved playing the violin, by taking extra shifts, she was able to pay for me to have a good violin. She lost her health for her children.
She never thought much of herself at all. She came from a humble family in a small town in Spain. Her father tended vineyards and other of her other relatives were shepherds in the old-fashioned way. She didn’t get to finish primary school education. And growing up in the trauma and poverty of post-civil war Spain meant that she carried with her some painful memories all her life.
No one would think of her as a leader; at least not according to the false leadership ideals of this world. But she was a great leader, because as God sees it, the leader is always the chief sacrifice. And what is true is whatever God says, and every contrary view is false. The world’s values are turned upside down in the Kingdom.
It’s because Jesus was the Chief Sacrificer, that he is the Supreme Leader, and the Lord and Master of the Universe. Jesus declared:
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life” (John 10:11) “for the sheep”(v.17, NIV).
If the Father loves the Son because the Son sacrifices, then in the same way, the Son loves us. We too are to sacrifice,
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you (John 15:9, NIV)
True leaders die to self so that others may live.
Jesus said to his disciples,
You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:42–45, NIV).
True leaders die to self so that others may live. We die to self when we give up our rights for the good of others. We die to self when we put aside our own comfort so that others may have what they need, to our own cost. We die to self when we place the sharing of the Good News as our greatest priority and highest aspiration of our lives.
That’s what true leaders do. The rest are just wannabes and fakes. True leaders don’t often get recognition in this world (Col 3:23–24). My mother – she was a true leader, and her reward awaits her.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.