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Briefing: Have you ever heard the saying, “A manager does things right, a leader does the right thing”? What do you call someone who does the right things right?

Dispatch (Assignment): Read John 13:1-17.

On the Street: I have had the benefit of working for managers and leaders. They have run the spectrum from terrible to awesome. One of the greatest leaders I ever worked for was a sergeant I had while I was with Dallas PD. Another great leader was a lieutenant I worked with while at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Department of Public Safety. They shared several characteristics. First and foremost, they cared for their officers and were involved in the daily activities of the shift.

I have also worked for some bad managers. Two immediately come to mind. I am convinced that one of them truly hated all human beings except the one he saw in the mirror every morning. The other one was filled with hate and bitterness. I was told that when he was younger, he was a fun guy to be around. I am not telling you this to point a finger at anyone, just as a contrast. I have prayed and continue to pray for both of these guys as well as the good leaders.

Out of all the leaders in the history of the world, there has never been one that can equal Jesus Christ. If you are a supervisor, or have aspirations to become one, He is the one to model your leadership style after.

In this passage of scripture we see John set the stage for what is about to happen. He tells, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power”. This is a very important statement. If Jesus had power over all things, there are all kinds of changes He could have made. He could have avoided the cross, destroyed His enemies and countless other things. Instead, He does the opposite, continuing the path His Father set.

Imagine your boss, whether it is a chief, sheriff, director or whatever title he/she holds, has decided to retire and names you as the new boss. What would be your first order of business? Would you clean house with a series of promotions, demotions and firings? Would you use your new authority to change some of the archaic rules of the agency?

Here is what Jesus did. He decides to show the full extent of His love to His disciples. He holds nothing back; taking the position of a slave, He washes the feet of His disciples. This was a nasty job that only the lowest people performed.

As people in positions of authority, all law enforcement officers, whether supervisors or line officers, need to follow the example Christ gives us. It is the same as the message He has been sharing since His ministry began, love.

Don’t think this is all mushy, sweet, cuddly love. Love is not weakness. Do you think going to the cross to die a horrific death was easy? No, “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus demonstrated that great leadership is found in love. I did not plan for this chapter to end this way, but think back on the four supervisors I spoke of in the first two chapters. The two good ones demonstrated caring for their officers and involvement while the two bad ones demonstrated characteristics contrary to love.

Investigational Resources: For more scripture on the greatness of love, read Matthew 22:37-40.

Officer Safety Principle: Be a leader who loves well.

from The Gospel of John Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!