Friday, December 6, 2013

Within Us

“When it is the real deal the rod has buds on it. Like Aaron's rod did (Numbers 17:8). It buds, produces flowers and then almonds that can feed people. Grace authority is life giving authority. The broad road has many distractions and pleasures but no life.” – Pastor Allan Leitner

The passing of Nelson Mandela reminded me of that quote and the principle expressed.  Let's explore that a little.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said this, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.".

Great leadership, like salvation is a gift from God.  We can take up the mantle or not.  We can choose.  And it's our choices, not our gifts that define us.  Think about it.

Romans 11:29 (KJV)  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 

God offers certain gifts to each of us.  Whether we use them and how we use them is up to us.  But God never regrets giving us the opportunity to use them.

Romans 8:28 (KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

Everything around us is put there for God to use for our own good.  That includes our own decisions, our blessings, and our troubles.  What God allows is for our eternal benefit, while the temporal may not always be to our liking.

Think about Joseph of the Old Testament.  The whole set of circumstances of going into the pit, into servitude in Egypt, and into jail all gave him an understanding of hardship that aided him when he was placed in leadership in time to deal with an international famine.  And to show Grace to the brothers who acted so evilly toward him.

Samson chose a season of pleasure over his gift from God.  As a result, he lost that gift, getting it back in a way and at a time that he could use it for a purpose.

David's life was all over the spiritual spectrum.  The conditions he experienced were equally as varied.  He was at one point a philanderer and a murderer.  Yet, he became one of Israel's most anointed leaders.

Jesus was born in a barn, lived a simple life, experienced the Cross.  He also ate with religious leaders (Luke 7:37), although that might best be described in Psalm 23:5, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.".

People like Billy Graham, Greg Laurie, or even my own pastor, Tom Schaller, aren't who they are because of having things easy.  I'd suggest they could have been business leaders, making lots of money and living extravagantly.  But the grace they were given, their experience, and their relationships with God guided them into the spiritual leadership positions that they're known for.

When we look at civil rights leaders from Lincoln to Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela, it wasn't wealth and favor that made them great.  Human reasoning would remove the resistance that King met in the south and the imprisonment that Mandela experienced.  But, would easily won equality have been valued as greatly?

One of the newscasters pointed out that, when Mandela was released from prison and was elected as South Africa's leader, he could easily have been vengeful and created an atmosphere of reverse inequality.  Instead, he took his prison experience and used it to recognize that any form of inequality went against humanity and against the teachings of our mutual Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Would he have been Madiba had he followed any other course for his country?  Some might have still used that title for him, but he wouldn't have been living in it.  That's worth considering longer than just a few seconds.

Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. 

Psalm 51:10 (KJV)  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 

Are we going to let the rod bud and use the grace within us?  Or are we taking a different path, today?


  1. Thanks, E. D.. It's amazing how God can draw together circumstances and old thoughts to give us a new and exciting insight into how much He loves us and does for us.