Just a few days ago I had a conversation with a good friend who had a conversation with another friend. The discussion went along the lines of I’ve been in church most of my life and have heard it all, but don’t feel l really know Jesus like some Christians do.

This, as you can well imagine, is not the first time I’ve heard this comment. It seems to me that in Christian leadership, as we attempt to get potential leaders ready for a leadership role and responsibility, there is not enough emphasis on their  personal relationship and walk with Jesus. 

The prevailing trend is to focus on what they need to know and what they need to be able to do—information and skills. 

Let me put it as simply and succinctly as I can: 

As a leader, who you are in Jesus is vastly more important than what you know about Jesus or what you do for Jesus in making your unique contribution toward His plans and purpose!

People buy into the leader’s walk before they buy into the leader’s vision. 

It all starts with having my identity in Jesus and experiencing intimacy with Jesus. This needs to be the foundation for all biblical Christian leadership. 

I recall when one of my early mentors (Warren Myers) would meet with me, he always (without exception) started out by asking me about how it was going with my walk—not my work. Eventually we got to “The Work” but we always began with “The Walk.”

An intimate walk will lead to a fruitful work. 

One of my favorite verses on this is Galatians 6:4,5 in The Message:

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

It starts with making a careful exploration of who I am. Who I am in Jesus and who Jesus is in me. 

In ministry,  it’s much easier to be more like Martha and much harder to be more like Mary—Luke 10:38-42. 

We are reminded by the Apostle Paul in 1st Timothy 4:16 to pay close attention to ourselves and then to the teaching—the work. Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s the other way around, the work comes first and then the walk, if we have the time!!

My experience has led me to believe that many Christian leaders start out like Mary, but when success and demands comes, we go into Martha mode and leave Mary in the dust. 

Are you spending so much time in the work of the Lord that you are neglecting the Lord of the work? 

Take some time and prayerfully consider this probing question. 

As you continue your leadership journey, are you becoming more like Martha or more like Mary?