While there is a certain allure to a brand new car, I’ve never found myself too impressed by those kinds of cars. You aren’t either, I bet. Just think of the conversations you have from time to time with a person about their car. You say, “nice car”, “thanks”, they respond, and the ensuing conversation inevitably ends up with you asking the car-owner, “how many miles you got on that baby?” Now even if you’re not a car person you have to admit the higher the number the more you’re impressed. It’s the car that still runs great after passing the 100,000-mile marker that leaves you impressed. I think the same could be said of a leader.
Think of Moses, Abraham and Ruth. Think of Jesus. Can you imagine how boring the story of his life would be without the journeys. Just sitting around day in, day out waiting for people to come to him. In many regards it is the high mileage nature of Christ that intrigues us all.
Sure, when Jesus began to grow in fame as Mark 3:8 describes, people were traveling from far away to come see the attraction of Christ. I suspect the temptation would be great for any leader in a similar situation to stay put and let the leader-less come to them. But Jesus rarely stayed put for long. Jesus had a knack for finding people in the shadows. Always logging miles.
I bet if Jesus were to lead his gang of twelve today his car would not be low mileage. His car would be well-used and covered in the dirt of several counties…backseat full of old Starbucks cups and in desperate need of an oil change. And not because it is somehow more spiritual to drive a beater, not at all. Jesus’ car would be high mileage and worn because he was going out to the people, filling his days with the things that matter most to his Heavenly Father.
Paying attention to the people up trees, like Zaccheus. (Luke 19)
Going to dinner parties with tax-collectors, like Matthew. (Mark 2)
Striking up conversations with outcasts, like the Woman at the Well. (John 4)
Are you logging miles in your leadership? Are you going out of your way regularly to be in places where you know you will encounter people who need your leadership? Be a high mileage leader, because the people who need Christ’s touch the most are not likely waiting in your driveway, but they are waiting for your phone call.