Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Servants!


One of the intoxicating drugs of leadership is having people look up to you. It is natural, but very dangerous at the same time. It becomes a problem when you start to believe all the good things people say about you. Listen to what Paul had to say...

1 Corinthians 4
1 -4 "Don't imagine us leaders to be something we aren't.
We are servants of Christ, not his masters.
We are guides into God's most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them.
The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge.
It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion.
I don't even rank myself.
Comparisons in these matters are pointless.
I'm not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn't mean much.
The Master makes that judgment.
5 So don't get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in.
When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the "Well done!" of God."

Don't get me wrong. It is great to encourage our leaders, to be theri advocates, to be loyal, to be good followers. That is all good. But they are SERVANTS of God, not God himself!

6 "All I'm doing right now, friends, is showing how these things pertain to Apollos and me so that you will learn restraint and not rush into making judgments without knowing all the facts. It's important to look at things from God's point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay.
7 -8 For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn't everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what's the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle. Without bringing either Apollos or me into it, you're sitting on top of the world—at least God's world—and we're right there, sitting alongside you!"

It is comforting (in a perverse sort of way) to know that leadership issues and struggles were evident even in the very early church, with the original apostles and leaders we think so highly of.

Every leader has their own struggles. Our loyalty and encouragement can make a big difference.

Here is something my pastor wrote recently. "I’ve shared with good friends that it’s been a difficult road for me. I feel that the assault has been massive: fear, stress, anxiety, discouragement, depression, temptation, fatigue, exhaustion, feeling alone, developing an eye twitch…these are just a few of the weapons that I feel have been leveled against me. I think it’s like that whenever followers of Jesus attempt to do something powerful for His name’s sake."

Listen to Paul again...

9 -13 "It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We're something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We're the Messiah's misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we're mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don't have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, "God bless you." When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We're treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture's kitchen. And it's not getting any better.
14 -16 I'm not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I'm writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God's Message to you that I became your father. I'm not, you know, asking you to do anything I'm not already doing myself."

So when you think of your leaders, even more your spiritual leaders, don't forget to pray for them. Don't forget to encourage them...

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