Journal Entry from March 29, 2013:
"Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord." -Numbers 16:28 (ESV)
Two other verses that came to mind as I was meditating on Numbers 16:28:
"...it was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it." -1 Corinthians 15:10 (The Message)
"The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood." -John 7:18 (ESV)
Jesus, this is so critical; to be led by you and empowered by you, as I so often say and pray for myself and others.
This is a deep personal issue. For whose glory and by whose power? This is the question asked in Acts 4:7: "By what power or by what name did you do this?"
Help me to be led by you as I do what I do, and say what I say. Help me to truly seek to honor you and not to honor myself. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” -Psalm 115:1 (ESV)
Leadership is not about the leader, but about Jesus and those people he has privileged the leader to lead.
Leadership is either about Jesus and his plans and purposes, or it is about the leader who sets himself up in unhealthy and unbiblical ways.
It is easy to start out with the right motives and heart attitude of humility and dependence and then morph (due to success) into pride and building your own kingdom, using Jesus to do it. The bottom line is that it has become all about the leader.
Donald Miller on March 25, 2013 wrote a piece in which he said the following:
Some Christian leaders make controversial statements in order to build a tribe. They’re looking for a downline of submissive people who will do what it is they want them to do. They sell confidence and security, rituals to perform, books to read and ultimately a sense that if they obey their rules, they will be okay. They use the name of Jesus to make themselves mini gods. Make no mistake, there’s a lot of status, fame, power, money and glory to be had by becoming a modern day pharisee. And those who are looking to put their faith in something tangible, like an earthly leader, rather than something intangible, like Jesus, are prime for manipulation.
I’ve had a few meals with famous Christian leaders and the differences between some of them couldn’t be more fierce. Some best-selling authors are more humble than you could imagine, and others are incredibly arrogant and paranoid about their own sense of power. The conclusion I came to is that some Christian leaders know Jesus and others have discovered a way to accumulate worldly power, status and glory, and they’re using Jesus and naive Christians to do it.
Here’s the obvious key: Are the Christian leaders you follow known to be humble? Are they known to be gracious? Do they seek attention by making shocking statements? Do they interact with sinners and religious leaders alike with grace and kindness the way Jesus did? Do they insist on being the center of attention? Do they surround themselves with yes men and get rid of people who will not submit?
“You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you.” -Mark 10:42,43 (The Message)
Not only godless leaders, but also Christian leaders can throw their weight around and let power go to their heads!
Leader, is it truly and really all about Jesus or has it become all about you? Follower, is your leader all about Jesus or all about himself? Tough questions that demand honest answers! We need discernment and courage to keep Jesus in the center of our lives and ministries!