“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:15 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

John 15:9-17

The leadership style of Jesus of Nazareth is based on love.

Let me expand on this.

Jesus’ approach to his disciples is not based on issuing commands and demanding blind rule-following. He tells them everything, ready always to explain things to them when they do not understand. He also sends them out to do what he has taught. In the other gospels we read, too, how when they returned to him having preached, healed and exorcised, he responds with warmth, even with humour. He builds on their enthusiasm, praises them and guides them further in the work he has set them.

In so many jobs, one often gets the sense that you are no more than a hired hand, a replaceable cog in a well-oiled machine that will use you and when you no longer deliver, dump you! That is clearly not what Jesus does.

Jesus takes his disciples and turns them into friends. He cares about them as people and makes them partners in the mission. The result is not just the kind of loyalty one sees among those who are ‘hired hands’, let alone those who do the job out of fear of punishment or dismissal. The work, the mission becomes what the disciples are. It becomes central to their lives, and – even after the Resurrection and Ascension – their enthusiasm for the mission never falters. If anything, it just grows.

How do we see ourselves in our workplaces – cogs in a machine or friends on a mission?

If we are in charge, how do we treat our workers?

Could we all learn a little bit from the leadership style of Jesus, the CEO?

Lord Jesus,

Fill my heart with your love.

Motivate me to share that love with others.

Give me the courage to love others as you have loved me.


Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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