Friday, August 15, 2014

The Inconvenience Of Love

What is your reaction when someone hurts you? You probably forgive them because that is what we are suppose to do as followers of Jesus, but will you still love them? Will you open your heart to them, trust them, hang out with them, treat them as if nothing happened? We may want to because we know it's what Jesus desires of us but sometimes our flesh makes it difficult.

We find a great example of this in Samuel. He was the last of the Israelite judges because the people demanded a change in the system. He was also prophet and priest, speaking to the people the will of Yahweh. But the people wanted a king to replace Yahweh's system of governance. We can imagine the sting of rejection Samuel would have felt after generations of judges. However, Yahweh encouraged Samuel by pointing out that the people were not rejecting him as judge as much as they were rejecting Yahweh as king.

The people did not fully understand what they had done until after Yahweh had agreed to it. When they did realize it they came to Samuel in repentance. I am sure you can appreciate what the temptation of our flesh would be, but not Samuel. In fact, read his graceful words:

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:23-24)

That is great leadership for you. It doesn't matter how a leader is treated by the people for whom they are responsible, they must continue to lay down their lives for them. A Christian leader is not leading in their name but in the name of the Lord and to the Lord he will have to be accountable for that leadership. Jesus has not told us to lead only when people love us and show us appreciation. I don't only write and preach when it is popular; it has been given me to do not matter how it is received. I know you can think of other things where the same rule must applied such as parenting. A leader must lead.

Serving the Lord is not a popularity contest or a feel-good thing. It is a responsibility, plain and simple. It is not dependent on anything other than obedience provoked by our love for Jesus. Some days that will be the only motivation you have to go on but it will be enough. So love people no matter how they treat you.

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