Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christian Leadership or the Easy Yoke?

We live at a time when “Leadership” is the thing which everyone seems to strive after.  Everyone wants to speak for a large group of *others*.  I used to pray that my children would be leaders and not followers.  I meant it in the sense, that they would swim upstream against the crowd rather than just take the path of least resistance and go with the flow.  Not necessarily that they would lead a crowd... but that they would not be led by the crowd.

Leadership is power.  That’s why it’s so highly prized, and why it’s so important that we are careful about the leadership we submit to in our lives, and that we challenge those who sometimes assume leadership over us.  Someone may be our teacher or leader for a season by our choice  but we need to be careful not to hand over our  conscience to any other person.  It is our life…our only life.

Matthew 23:  (Amplified Bible)
8 But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven.
10 And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ.

I noticed these three verses...each verse in conjunction with the role of one of the three members of the trinity and how WE relate with the triune God according to John 17:21.

  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, 
that they also may be one in us: 
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Verse 8 tells us not to assume the position of teacher.  I have known a lot of gifted teachers...but I think there may be a difference between a gifting... and office.  That's where I would draw a line.  Our gifts are not to give us a position...but to bless others.  We know from passages such as John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  and  Hebrews 8: 10-12 (and others) that the Holy Spirit is our teacher…. So the implication is that  since we are not the Holy Spirit…we should not assume His role as teacher for any individual or group.   Our role with respect to the Holy Spirit is to listen and to get wisdom…to HEAR.

Verse 9 tells us not to call any man our Father nor to assume the position or title of  this is why I have such issues with titles conferred on religious leaders.  God is our Father, and no-one should receive the title father, or reverend or any such thing.  Nor should we presume to be a spiritual father to anyone else.  We only have one Father, and our part in the relationship is not to BE Him….but to LOVE Him and to emulate His love and character in order to become like Him and bear His glory into our  world.

Verse 10 speaks to the idea of leadership….pastors, shepherds. Often at times of crisis, gifted leaders arise. This is God's prerogative... But I believe we are wrong to give and to assume these as offices.  In the book of Samuel, the people prefered to have a King rather than the wise Judges which had God had spoken through in the past. but according to 1Samuel 8:7  "And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."

THE LORD is my shepherd. Jesus is the one to whom we look for leadership and example and direction. He’s really good at this so we do harm to insert ourselves or anyone else in this role.   1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”  Our stance toward the leadership of Jesus is to simply  FOLLOW in simple trusting obedience.

Having said all that, we as individuals can  effectively move at the impulse of Father’s love to speak a word of wisdom into each other’s lives, or to support each other along the journey by pointing each other to  Christ our leader… reminding each other who’s workmanship we are,  and who we are becoming. This is our role in making disciples  and joining in the work of Christ, which is reconciling men to God.

But these are not on going offices (with titles, status and salaries) to be proud of in some religious aristocracy….nor levels of government in some institutional religion.  They are relational, momentary, opportunities to be a part of  Father’s plan of overcoming evil with good.  Not cutting out a niche and building (and monetizing) our own  kingdom, as institutional religion so often does…but bringing the kingdoms of the earth into alignment with the Kingdom and the Glory of God.

Our roles are to listen to the Holy Spirit, to love our Father and to follow Jesus.

This is the easy yoke Jesus talked about....because we share it with Christ who does all the heavy pulling. And if we have this yoke  on…we are ready to move at the impulse of His Love.


paige said...

WOAH - so funny. i haven't blogged in forever & just posted today a post called, "after you" - which i feel like kinda touches on this same issue. i read this after i posted... neat.

mamalena said... it is July....and I just see your comment. I will have to go read your post. Have felt like remaining silent for lo these many years....but maybe God willing. I will cautiously begin again.