Monday, March 30, 2009

Foundations of Leadership

The question of identity is huge, who am I in God? I'm I important? Does God accept me? What is the proof of that? I think every leader must go through this struggle. Through the years I have watched young men who believed that if they were an elder or a teacher then God must be pleased with them. They would sacrifice time, energy to pursue the gold ring of position only to find that it does not meet the need in their heart. It is through our personal relationship with God that we see our value. It is not based on what we have done or what we bring to the relationship but on His generosity toward us. Moses went through 40 years of obscurity to discover that God was for him. It prepared im to stand firm in the face of tremendous difficulty. Think of Joseph, Elijah or David, or even Paul. They all had a great sense of call and promise, but needed to see deeply that God's call was not a sign of affirmation but all call to sacrifice. Consider John the Baptist; he was called to lead a nation to repentance. He had a huge following, both religious and secular. Crowds would search him out in droves, kings took note, and he was center stage. Then the cumulating event of his life call took place, Jesus came. Even though John knew in his heart this day would come he was deeply distressed when he was thrown in prison. Shaken he saw his disciples leaving to follow Christ. As he sat in prison he sent a delegation to Jesus to ask if He truly was the one that was sent. Jesus asked John not to lose faith, to remember the call, to remember that it was not about ‘John’s ministry’ but the purposes of God. God was pleased with him; he had fulfilled his mission. The circumstances of His surroundings had nothing to do with God’s perception of him; he still was God’s man.

I have seen so many that have washed out of ministry. The rigors of ministry life are difficult. People question your motives; friends get offended and leave. What looks from the outside, as a life of honor and appreciation, is really a life of sacrifice. Many come to the conclusion that it is just not worth it. They become embittered, as they feel unappreciated. The bitterness descends into anger toward God. The seeds of pride come to full fruit.

Jesus said that the greatest would be the servant of all. It is not a means to greatness, but the fruit of a soul who knows their God and senses His approval. To young leaders, get the foundations right, check your hearts often. To seasoned leaders, remember that your position is temporal; things can change in a minute. The real pay off is in eternity.