“Notice that Jesus did not do the miracle of feeding the five thousand directly Himself, but by working through His disciples. He performed the miracle, but involved others in its completion. Even though their faith was low, He still used the disciples. He trusted them to play an important role in spite of their unbelief.Jesus gave the disciples the bread. They distributed it to the people and later gathered the leftovers. Surely Jesus could have performed this miracle easily, and more dramatically, without their help. But instead, He deliberately involved the disciples in a learning experience. As they participated, their eyes were opened to see the miracle taking place.
There are some key leadership lessons at work in this story: • Leaders are more effective when they involve others. • Disciples don’t need to be mature to be involved. • Self-discovery is more powerful than teaching discovery. • Disciples learn more by doing than by watching. • There are different learning styles for different people.
Jesus didn’t just want to perform a miracle; He wanted to train His followers to believe. He was developing men of faith, not running a feeding program. He wanted His leaders to have compassion fueled by faith, so He engaged them by having them participate in the miracle. He could have done it faster by Himself. He could have done it more efficiently by Himself. But He chose to trust an important responsibility to His men. Those who are prone to perfection find it very difficult to operate by this principle. These are the people who often say, “It’s easier just to do it myself.”
If you have a very strong predilection for neatness and excellence, allowing others to be involved who don’t share your standards will be a severe test for you. The goal of good leadership is not always getting people to do things the “right” way, but instead, training them through the process. Here is a challenge for those with high standards: there are times you may have to sacrifice getting things done your way in order to encourage more people to be involved.
Jesus didn’t preach a message of “excellence,” but He did speak often about the need for more workers. Multiplication of workers for the harvest is not incompatible with high standards. But leaders create cultures, and a culture of control for the sake of excellence can be a huge hindrance to mobilizing workers for the harvest. Control can be an underlying issue if a leader is reluctant to involve others in important tasks. If you are a prisoner of your personality, you will insist on doing things your way, no matter how it affects others. Take time to do some honest assessment. Ask yourself and others who work with you: • Am I a controlling leader? • Am I proficient at involving others? • Do I get great satisfaction from seeing others learn by doing?"