While the world pushes achievers to be great leaders, Kelly King told Oklahoma Baptist University students that the true mark of a great leader is if the person is a great follower of Jesus Christ. King shared her message during a weekly chapel service Wednesday, March 24, honoring Women's Missions and Ministry Day at OBU.
A 1984 OBU graduate, King serves as women's missions and ministries specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. During her years at OBU, she said she learned what it means to truly be a leader, and she heard the reminder to be the leader who God created her to be.
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"As much as we talk about leadership and what it means, there are two words Jesus said over and over in His earthly ministry that I think are the complete opposite of what the world is going to tell you about leadership, two words that we could spend the rest of our lives pursuing: 'Follow Me,'" she said, referring to the mandate Jesus gave his followers more than 20 times in the New Testament.
"I want us to spend some time this morning understanding that to be the greatest leader, you must be the greatest follower," she said. "As much as I like to lead, there are times I like to follow and there are times I need to follow."
King said Jesus gave several directives to people who want to follow him. Reading from Matthew 4:19, she said there is a directive for immediate obedience which results in growth for Christ's Kingdom.
"For you students, there is nothing greater in the world that you will do that is of greater importance than sharing the Gospel with those you encounter," she said. "It is something we must consider every step of our lives: whether we are following Christ and sharing him with the world around us. Whatever your profession is, there are opportunities to share Christ on every corner."
Based on John 10:27, King said people who want to follow Jesus must also diligently pursue hearing the voice of God. She said people often interpret personal preference as God's plan for their lives, but instead they should read the Bible to find divine guidance. She warned students of the spiritual danger they might encounter if they do not listen to the voice of God.
"Are you spending time in God's Word?" King said. "Do you recognize the difference between personal ambition and the voice of God?"
King said good followers also must determine spiritual priorities that focus on others. She recounted the story of the young ruler in Luke 18 who asked Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life. Jesus' response was that the ruler should sell all he has, give the profits to the poor, and then follow Christ.
"To follow Christ is to put others before yourself," she said. "It means sacrificing your comfort for his calling. It means setting aside your circumstances for eternal perspective. It means having compassion for those who have physical as well as spiritual needs. It is God's calling for us to serve, and not to be served."
Luke 9:23 says, "If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." King said Christians often interpret their personal "cross" as dealing with life's everyday circumstances and stresses. However, in reality she said to "take up a cross" is a call to radical faith, a call that will cost a follower everything.
"To be the greatest leader, to graduate from this university and to be the leader that God has called you to be, pursue these two words: Follow Me," she said.