What Manner of Man
(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)
By Richard M. Eyre
WEEK 27: TOTAL EXAMPLE
Someone once defined leadership with perfect simplicity: “Leadership is being,” The related clichés are endless: “Practice what you preach;” “Ask no one to do something you would not do;” “What you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say;” “you can’t lead someone to a place you are not going.”
There has never been any other teacher who could, as the Savior did, summarize all he had taught in three words, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19; Luke 18:22). All other leaders, at times, either directly or by implication, have had to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Perhaps this thought prompted Napoleon, who is quoted as saying:
“I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man…A resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and [all other] religions a distance of infinity. Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me and his will confounds me. Between him and [anyone] else in the world there is no possible term of comparison.”
It is infinitely easier to set a perfect example in negatively phrased physical teachings (what not to do physically—”don’t kill,” “don’t steal,” and so one) than to exemplify positively phrased mental teachings (what to do, in mind as well as in action—e.g., “love your fellow man”). In the second category, perfection is ruined by one moment’s unkind thought, or by one single failure to notice a need and fill it, or by one single failure to recognize a chance to do good and do it.
Jesus Christ lived a perfect life: a fact that is remarkable because he never committed sin, but much more remarkable because he never omitted good.
The one thing that makes the challenge “Be ye therefore perfect” credible is the simple fact that he who said it, did it.