Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What are leaders called to do?

So, I’ve been reading through 1 Timothy.  All throughout the book, one theme keeps repeating itself over and over – anyone who leads MUST love with integrity.  It’s not a suggestion. It's not a bonus.  It's a requirement for leadership.

Paul begins writing to young pastor Timothy.  The letter begins by reminding Timothy of his calling.  Which is to simply love with the love that only comes from Christ.    

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)

Paul says, Timothy, if you've ever wondered what your calling is to LOVE (period).  
Here's how you love.  You love out of the overflow of your relationship with Christ.  Which produces a pure heart in you.  Which produces a good conscience within you.  Which produces a sincere faith.

What freedom to know that my sin IS gone and my motives ARE pure.
What freedom to know that my sin IS gone and my intentions ARE good.
What freedom to know that my sin IS gone and I AM following Jesus in sincerity.

After repeated remarks on those who are false teachers...those who do not serve out of the overflow of relationship with Christ.  Paul begins to close out his letter giving Timothy a glimpse of what occurs when we allow sin to creep or linger in our souls.  

In 1 Timothy 4:2 he goes so far to state we can allow sin to enter our lives to the point of actually searing our conscious.  We can allow sin to control our minds to the point where we have gone so far to convince ourselves that we are in the right, when actually we are not.  Because of this Paul tells Timothy...

"The sins of some people are so conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.  So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” 1 Timothy 5:24-25

Basically there are times when it’s obvious that someone isn’t ready for leadership.  Then there are times when it’s not quite so obvious.  However, as we serve along side folks over time we can determine if someone is operating out of pure heart.  Over time self-seeking motives are seen.  Over time impure thoughts, and a seared conscious (1 Timothy 4:2) come to the surface.  Over time faith can become rooted or it can wither. 

On the flip side good works can also be hidden.  There may be a leader that is hiding in the shadows or behind the scenes.  Their leadership may not be loud.  But good works repeated over time make for a pretty loud testimony that cannot be hidden. 

I saw this first hand back in February as we celebrated my mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.  It was amazing as guests drove from miles away to attend their open house.  We thanked guest for coming and over and over we heard “we wouldn’t have missed this for anything”.  These were people my dad worked with.

Families my mom had babysat for.  Church friends.  Old neighbors.  Coworkers from jobs 30 years ago. Distant relatives.  What I saw was a picture of how all of their little conspicuous good works are being added up to lives well lived and are undeniable.

Eventually sins are found out and eventually good deeds are found out too.  I may be doing a lot of small inconspicuous things, but eventually those things become loud enough that my life points people to Christ.

In order to get there myself, I recognize it takes time with Jesus.  It takes allowing Jesus to cultivate my character, my mind, and my faith.

In order for me to develop a leader it also takes time.  It takes honest coaching and effort.  And the leader I'm coaching also has to be personally invested in their personal growth.

So I end my time in 1 Timothy having learned a lot.  Been constantly checked in my motives and love (or lack there of) and now continually praying David’s prayer desperately wanting to fulfill my calling - to LOVE (period)

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

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