Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Agenda for Greatness

Jesus came that we might have life and life abundantly. The Christian experience is to be rich with purpose and meaning. With our position with Christ secure, we of all people should be living a life overflowing with confidence and expectation. Yet a trip to the local bookstore with the hundreds of self-help titles testifies that we “feel” we are lacking, falling short, or not measuring up. I believe much of the insecurity that troubles believers is that we embrace the values of this world and its picture of greatness. We measure ourselves against one another even though in our hearts we know that God does not grade on the curve. We know the scripture; yet succumb to measuring our worth by the standards of our culture.

We need to understand what is expected of us, what truly pleases Christ. Does God need our fruitfulness? Is he impressed with our accomplishments? I can only conclude that He is not. He is not pragmatic. How we live and our motivations are as important as what we accomplish. Jesus lays out his agenda for greatness and what the disciples should embrace as a philosophy of ministry.

Matt. 20:25-28
But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (NAS)

The Church “culture” sends out the unspoken message that if you work hard and serve then you get promoted to the “great” part. You will be a somebody, a mover and a shaker. When I read the New Testament I am struck that there is an absence of the principles that I have heard at many leadership conferences. Seminars on how to lead others center on “developing those who would serve your vision” and “Don’t become personal with your people.” One respected book on leadership teaches “people naturally follow leaders stronger then themselves’.” There is some truth in this statement, but it misses the mark, it encourages the thinking that if I want to lead I must be stronger than my companions. Jesus warns His disciples not to think in those terms.

Jesus trained twelve men to change the world. What are the keys, the secret? Serve, Servanthood is the goal. Jesus speaks of His own mission in terms of laying down His life. Paul would echo this same set of values in his letter to the Philippians.

Phil. 2:3-11
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not {merely} look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NAS)

Leaders, love and serve your flock, in God’s economy it is enough! Future leaders, give yourselves to building others and trust God with your future. Saints, serve with gladness knowing it is counted as treasure in heaven.

You are fully received by God!
You are declared right (justified) in His eyes!
Your life counts!
There are no superstars in the Kingdom of God! Only faithful saints.
God’s agenda does not depend on your skill but your obedience!