Friday, May 3, 2013

Just Like Jesus Did It

I hear it every day: "You are such a patient man". Not really a sentence I would have used to describe me. I used to be a short tempered man when I was young. My anger came from my self-centeredness. Sure, I cared about people and loved doing nice things for them but I had yet to mature spiritually. I did not yet understand how to see people with the eyes and heart of Jesus.

When we consider Jesus we see that he taught with patience. He was not concerned with being honoured and gladly took on the role of a servant. Being in the place of a servant he did nothing for himself and concentrated on what he could do for others. Although he came to "cast out demons and preach the good news", his heart of compassion also moved him to heal the sick, bring sight to the blind and cause the lame to walk. Even in his deepest distress he placed others before his own wants, needs and desires. A person like this does not have anger issues.

Leadership in the Church is based on Jesus' teaching of servant-leader. Leaders can have no personal vested interest in anything, must be empty of self and see themselves as servants of God, to the Church. If a leader has any self-centeredness it is going to show in the way he or she deals with the "sheep". Paul wrote to Timothy:

You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. (2 Timothy 4:2)

Leaders have been called to lead. They lead by example and in instruction but leadership also means correction. However, when a leader takes a person's sin as a personal insult they will end up dealing with it in anger. But sin is not an offense against a leader; sin is an offense against God and all God wants is it to be confessed and forgiven. Leaders must be patient in instruction and gentle in restoration. You can't cheer them up if you have taken the offense personally.

It is unfortunately that too much of leadership training these days is based on man's model instead of God's. It is too bad we chase after seminars based on business teaching instead of biblical teaching. It is too bad that pastors are too busy building a corporation instead of the Kingdom. It is too bad because we are missing the mark and "sheep" are being slaughtered in the process.

Personally, the Spirit is taking me through a re-processing as he strips away ideologies that I have allowed to be built in my life. Much of it has to do with man's thinking of the Church and leadership. As the Spirit does this I realize how easy it is to take on man's thinking instead of God's thinking. It is so easy to fall into that trap, just as easy as it is to fall into the trap of financial dependency on this world. Servant-leadership takes as much faith as trusting the provision of God. We have to trust that the Spirit is working on the hearts of those we must correct so that when we speak, our gentle word is a confirmation of what God is already doing.

I grew out of my anger issues the day I realized it wasn't about me. The day I realized it was about Jesus and my neighbour, all that anger drained from my heart. The reason I am a patient man is because I serve a patient God. The reason I don't take offense is because I realize I am not the one being offended. The reason I can correct is because I know it is about that person's good and not about my wound. Leadership in the Church is a cool thing because it is all about serving Jesus by serving others, and I mean really serving where all the benefit is for them and none for yourself. Just like Jesus did it.

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