So I have this little web-site, and I write this blog. I’m pretty convinced that no one reads it. I think that is okay, however, and here’s why: God wants me, my ministry, and my entire life… to be all about Him. So, I can write stuff that’s on my heart, and it’s not about me getting a pat on the back or a ‘comment’, but it’s about Him receiving glory… simply from my admitting that He is at work within me.
I’m a leader, so… much of what I write about and much of what God speaks to me concerning, has to do with ‘leadership’. The truth is, the most important thing I’m learning about leadership is that the best leaders are the best followers. It’s all about the person of Jesus Christ and real leadership is all about knowing and following Him. First. Before ever trying to lead others. I must follow Him.
It’s been said, “Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” If that’s true… what is to be my ‘end’… my ‘desire’?
Jesus. The face of the Son of God.
Romans 11:36 – “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (NKJV)
Romans 11:36 – “Everything comes from Him; Everything happens through Him; Everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.” (The Message)
Do you know what this verse says to me? It says that my life starts with God, is sustained by God, and ends in a collision course with the same God. Wow.
I have been somewhat concerned, by what I am hearing in some of the conversations I’ve had with others. Maybe I’m disturbed because their comments and questions remind me of my own dark heart. What disturbs me is that it seems that the goal is something else altogether. The goal is growing our churches to a certain size or our platforms (specific ministries, congregations, blogs) to certain fame. How hollow is that? And, how dangerous?
Just because men love Jesus and follow Him doesn’t’ mean they get to grow or reach a certain level of “success” (I use that word loosely). Here are a few men who loved our great God and King and were obedient beyond the norm, following Him into situations that didn’t always make sense to those who were watching:
- Moses spends his whole life with grumbling whiners and dies without getting to walk into the Promised Land.
- Samson suicide-bombs the Philistines and when the dust settles, he is dead and the Philistines still rule over Israel.
- David’s son rapes his sister and leads a rebellion against David, dethroning him for a season.
- Jeremiah ends up in exile with the rest of the country after repeatedly getting beaten for preaching what God commanded him to preach.
- John the Baptist is beheaded by a pervert who gives his head to a 15-year-old stripper.
- Peter is killed, being reportedly crucified upside down.
- Paul is killed in Rome, but only after he spends his life (with thorn intact) being beaten, rejected, lost at sea, and consistently dealing with people coming in behind him and destroying what he built.
If your hope is set on anything other than Jesus, how do you survive when it goes bad? How do you remain passionate and vibrant when no one comes to your ‘event’ or the baptismal waters are unstirred for long stretches? How do you maintain doctrinal integrity or teach hard things if He isn’t the treasure?
How do you worship when your wife gets sick or when your son gets taken to the hospital in an ambulance? If Jesus is the goal, the treasure, the pursuit,… then those things are fuel that press you into His goodness and grace all that much more. I am not saying they are pleasant or enjoyable, only that if He is your goal, you will find your faith sustained.
Where is your hope? What, or rather Who, is the goal? I love preaching the gospel and I love ministering in the local church, but I do those things because in them there is this unbearable weight of His presence. This crushing majesty that makes me want to cry, sing, and scream all at the same time.
I find that I need to constantly search my heart and confess my desire for more than just Him. I must scour my heart for idolatry and pride for the good of my own obedience and the depth of the people at the church where I serve, the people I have been given to lead. Perhaps you feel a weight to do the same thing.
May God lead and guide us all… but may we truly be ‘followers’ first… with our eyes on the True Treasure.