Monday, August 5, 2013

Leadership or Christian Normalcy?

Recently, I had an online discussion with someone about a supposed shortcoming I had.  That idea was corrected.  But several thoughts came up in the conversation that create what’s termed a teachable moment.  So, let’s take a look.

The items are related.  It was suggested that the situation was worse because my online presence (reshares, comments, blog posts, etc.) made me a Christian leader because I was trying to get people to agree with my thinking.  That might not have been the exact wording, but it is the general idea.  Let’s deal with the last part first.

Our senior pastor was away this weekend, so our head youth pastor preached at the two Sunday morning services.  Different messages for each.  But he gave a great illustration in the early service that fits what we’re talking about.  Pastor Love talked about genetics creating resemblance.  He mentioned someone seeing a picture of him and his grandson and they thought he was his father.  And that thought speaks right to his point and mine.  If someone is going through turmoil, they don’t need to see me and my thinking.  They need God.  If they’re lost, I can’t save them, but God can.  If they need physical, mental, or spiritual healing, I can’t do that.  But God is the Great Physician.

In other words, my goal has to be that, when someone looks at me, what they see needs to be a reflection of my heavenly Father.  By spiritual genetics, He needs to shine through.  Or, as John 3:30 puts it, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”.  When I was a bit younger and sporting a mustache, people commented that I looked like Dennis Weaver playing McCloud.  That happened often enough that I jokingly used to use a few of the character’s catch phrases.  When people saw me, they saw McCloud.  Today, I’d hope that when they see me or read what I share, they still don’t see me, but Jesus instead.  If that’s not happening, something needs to change.

The other part of the comment was about my being a Christian leader.  I suppose that’s true, if we consider John Maxwell’s premise that we all influence someone.  So, for them, we’re a leader.  But think about that in context of this conversation.  Going back to the previous paragraphs, we’re talking about drawing people to God, loving people, offering them solutions to their problems.  I don’t recall Jesus restricting sharing the Gospel to leaders, or making “love thy neighbor” a leaders only command.  If I’m considered a leader by some because I believe and act upon the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, that’s sad.  I’m just doing what God said we should all do. 

The fact that some would consider those things leadership roles indicates that they probably have opted out of what God says are parts of the normal Christian life.  I don’t often think about that because most of the people I know are like me, looking for ways to bless people and draw them closer to God.  It almost shocks me when someone doesn’t think of that as a way of life.  That not only prevents them from being real leaders, it means they’ve chosen to deprive themselves of the blessings and joy of becoming more Christ-like.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

You knew we weren’t going to get too far away from that one.  In terms of our experience on earth, I think of the kingdom as experiencing God’s presence, His joy, His power, His peace.  That comes from living in His righteousness.  Acting not on our own, but by His direction.  We all know what Isaiah 64 says about our righteousness.  Anything we do on our own fits that category.  It’s only God working in us that gets things done right.  It’s only God loving through us that allows us to love with His love.  It’s only His love, working in and through us, that brings perfect peace.
 
If living and thinking that way makes me a leader, so be it.  But that only comes from being submitted to God.  It’s not me, but Him in me.  And I’ll stick with that because I’m selfish.  I’ve experienced the other way.  The active Christian life is much better, much more satisfying, and much more fun.  Do you want more joy and more peace?  Come join me.

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