The Leadership of the Centurion

Read Luke 7:1-10

How can you not like this man? If any of us could endeavor to be like anyone in Scripture, shouldn’t it be the Centurion described in Luke? The NIV labels this section, “The Faith of the Centurion”. I see it as leadership, here’s why:

  • He valued his servant highly. A terrific example for business leaders. Do we value our staff this way? Aren’t they the ones making our companies work? The Centurion went out of his way to receive healing for his servant while risking criticism from his peers and superiors.

Years ago as Resident Manager of a local hotel, the General Manager jeopardized his career in a fight with corporate management for the benefit of those of us reporting to him. I will never forget that. How many business leaders are willing to do this? He gained great respect from the staff and made us that much more willing to work hard for him.

  • The Centurion’s servants pleaded earnestly with Jesus. The respect shown to the servant by the Centurion obviously goes both ways in his household. Here were his servants (possibly slaves) pleading with Jesus for help on behalf of the Centurion and the ill servant. The servants cared as much for the Centurion as he did for them.
  • Jesus saw a genuine message. He went with the servants to the home as requested. We cannot fake being genuine; either we are or we are not. Jesus recognized this immediately. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will also.
  • As Jesus approached the home, the Centurion sent other servants to prevent Jesus from entering. The Centurion felt he was undeserving to have the Lord come under his roof. This is the ultimate in unselfishness. He passed up an opportunity to meet the Lord face-to-face and turned it down through genuine humility.

I attended a seminar this week and met a County Commissioner. We engaged in conversation only long enough for him to discover I was from another county and he quickly turned to others that perhaps had more political capital. I will admit that I have been tempted to do the same at networking events when I meet someone not likely to do business with me. Others have done this and it does not speak well for them or their company. Getting to know people unselfishly not only promotes our personal integrity and company, but also allows the opportunity to witness when the door is opened. Who knows, God may have placed that person in front of us for a reason to benefit them (or perhaps us).

  • “Say the word and my servant will be healed.”  What incredible faith!

Our companies function on faith. Our Lord owns it! We are simply stewards of His enterprise. When the business succeeds, it is due to our faith in Him. I have yet to hear a “Believer” business owner say otherwise.

  • Jesus verbally acknowledged the Centurion’s Faith. Can you think of a greater compliment in life? The Lord Himself publicly acknowledged the man’s faith.

I suspect the Centurion is far down on the list for “Centurion of the Year” by his peers because he was so embedded with the Israelites. Yet he received the ‘ultimate’ prize of recognition by Jesus as being a man of faith.

Rotary is a terrific organization and I belong to the Fairfield Club. Like the Centurion, I am perhaps way down on the list of Rotarian of the Year (yes this annual recognition really does exist) but have been asked to offer the invocation at special Rotary events. This honor can be accepted over “whatever” of the year, any day!

  • The servant was healed. For Believers, no surprise.

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