If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. James 2:8 ESV
Last week we looked at Doing Good – especially in the context of Jesus who “went about doing good” (see Acts 10:38). Doing good is ‘what’ Jesus did. James draws our attention to the ‘how’ of that which we do. We can know if we are doing well.
James sets the context for us by addressing the ‘second commandment’ (see Matthew 22:36-40) that sums up all the Law and the Prophets. The greatest commandment is to love God with all that we have. The second is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. James refers to this as the “royal law of Scripture.” Quite the label, for sure!
Note that we will fulfill this ‘royal law’ if we actually do it. It’s not enough just to know it, give it intellectual assent and agree with it. We have to put it into practice. We are to love others as we love ourselves. In so doing, we are doing well. So, what does this look like for Kingdom leaders?
First, it means that our leadership is not focused upon ourselves, but upon others. It’s not about ‘me, the leader’ but rather, it’s about those we lead. Yes, I love myself. But, that is the standard from which to measure my love for others. To paraphrase the Golden Rule, we lead others the way we would like to be led” (see Luke 6:31).
Secondly, we use our leadership authority and influence to serve and help others in the midst of accomplishing our mission. Yes, finishing the task is important. But, we don’t do so at the expense of those we lead or serve with. Those we lead are not a means to an end (mission accomplished), but they too are an end – in loving and serving them as we complete mission together.
If we lead others well – loving them as we love ourselves – and if we lead others the way we would want someone to lead us – if we use our leadership to serve, not use those we lead, then we are doing well.
As you go about doing good, are you doing well?