‘There is no rush’, He said.

‘What!’ I whispered out loud, as I proceeded to list all of the reasons why there was a sense of urgency and rush.

As I humbled myself and continued to listen to Jesus, I let what had first felt so misplaced for my circumstances settle and simmer in my heart.

As leaders, we are continually faced with the rush and urgency of the insurmountable needs of those we lead. The demands will feel pressing and important, sometimes even to the point of life and death.

When Jesus heard of Lazarus’ illness, he remained where he was for a further two days (John 11: 6) and when Jairus asked Jesus to come and heal his dying daughter, again Jesus allowed himself to be stopped and interrupted (Mark 5: 21-34). In these stories, Jesus was met by a pressing need, that was literally life or death, and yet, He chose to delay – He chose not to rush.

Even despite His assurance of the miracle to come, if we were to witness the unfolding of these stories, I wonder how many of us would feel confused, frustrated or even offended by Jesus’ response. If it was us leading through these stories, I wonder if we might have responded differently.

The thing that strikes me most about these stories is that Jesus didn’t react to the rush of those who needed Him; He responded to the Father.

In our leadership, who are we responding to? The pressing need that will always rush and demand our attention? Or the Father, who holds the need in His hand, and who is able to see a much bigger plan unfolding? (one where, in these stories, Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter were both raised from the dead!)

So often in our leadership, we can be reactive to the demands and the pressure of what we see before us. We extend ourselves to ‘be the answer’, often ending up frazzled and burnt out in the process.

But Jesus does not model this reactive leadership to us. His invitation for us is to lead whilst listening to the Father and to follow what He is saying and doing, over the noise of the needs.

So, who are we listening to? Like me, have you fallen for listening to the voices of rush? Or have you stopped to listen to the voice of the Father? Stopping to listen can feel like a waste of our precious time when we feel rushed, but I would argue that is exactly what we need to do if we want to lead like Jesus.

Could you find some time to tune out the voice of those who need us and to listen again to the Father? What is His response to the pressing needs? How does He want us to respond? What does He want us to do? Where does He want us to go?

Why not join me in this prayer?

Father, I thank you for your patience with us as we learn to humble ourselves of our own wisdom. Would you give us the grace to pause to hear your voice above all others. Help us to learn from you, to lead besides you and to trust in you. Amen.