Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, was determined to turn around the struggling fast-food chain. The leadership team focused on improving the company’s relationship with their 340 franchise owners. By choosing to serve and even love these individuals, they saw dramatic results. Their change of behavior was spurred by one question: “Do you love the people you lead?”
What does it mean to love the people you lead? Jesus shows us in John 13. Not a person present at the Passover meal would ever forget this demonstration of servant leadership. Since the men would recline at the table to eat, their feet would have been relatively close to the food. Foot washing was necessary, but typically assigned to a lowly servant. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Jesus took the initiative to do the dirty job.
One of the first phases of the Passover meal was the ceremonial hand washing with a unique laver bowl and towel. Peter, like the others, needed clarification about what was happening. Rightfully so. Jesus was setting the example for them of loving others through service regardless of rank or position (vv. 15–16).
Whenever we consider a task below us, we would do well to remember this example set by our Lord and Savior. Loving one another as Jesus loved ought to be the identifying mark of all Christian believers (v. 35). Everything else falls under the umbrella of this command. The love and service of unlikely Christian leaders toward one another make them stand out in pagan societies.
>> Is there a task you struggle to do? What if you embrace this unsavory job as an opportunity to love like Jesus? For all leaders today, especially Christian leaders, our lives ought to influence our families, churches, and organizations through selfless love and sacrificial service. Just as Jesus loved us, we are called to love one another.
Sometimes we dissuade ourselves from serving because we know our actions won’t come from the heart. Help us to do what is right, regardless of our desires. We trust You to change our hearts to match our actions.