Leaders are to be watchful for the sake of all that has been entrusted to them. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he instructed him to be watchful in all things. To be watchful is to be awake and alert to the things of God. It is more about being awake to the things of God then it is about being aware of the things of the enemy. If a leader is awake to what God is doing they will quickly notice the things that God is not doing. When others turn from their faith, leaders must be an example of those who are awake to God in all things.
2 Timothy 4:5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Like Paul and Timothy, leaders must endure afflictions for the sake of the measure of grace given to them for those they lead. Leadership is about leading. It is leading people to where they have not gone before. It is leading people to embrace the changes that God is bringing into their lives The work of bringing many to Christ in a revelation of reconciliation to God in Christ has been given to them. All believes must be life to others, but leaders must lead in this reality. A leader cannot expect an easy life, but they can expect a great life. I believe a great life is a noble one. It is a life that is given for the sake of others. Paul gave his life as a drink offering, he had fought the good fight, finished his race, and kept the faith. He expected that same quality of character to be inherited by his spiritual children and their children. Leaders must endure for the sake of others.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
A true leader knows that their leadership is really about giving their lives as an offering of life to those they lead. They understand that Jesus said those who drink of Him would have rivers flowing from within them. Those rivers are the diverse expressions of Christ’s life for the sake of others. This requires passion, endurance, and intimacy with God in all things. We cannot fight a good fight without a revelation of why we fight. Our fight must be one that is motivated by a love for God and a love for others. There is no stronger power than love. Our endurance in the race must be for the sake of seeing others come to know that same love. Our faith is motivated by the voice of the One who loves us. We live to see the love of our Father known in our lives in the lives of all those we lead. God is a righteous Judge, but He does not judge with a gavel that pronounces the guilt of our sins. He judges righteously. He judges to make things right, to clear the things that have held us in shame. A leader doesn’t lead to see the judgment of God pronounce the guilty to condemnation. A leader leads to see those bound to shame made free unto life.
Being as a leader includes the experiences of challenges and heartbreaks of leader. Paul’s second letter to Timothy reveals some of the personal struggles of leadership. Paul had been rejected, abandoned, and left alone. A leader must be willing to be rejected, abandoned, and even left alone at times for the sake of leading others into the path of life in Christ.
2 Timothy 4:9-16 Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica — Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come — and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
Demas had forsaken Paul because he loved the things of the present world. Others with Paul had been sent to other places. Paul was alone with Luke. He recognized his need of partnership with Timothy, Mark, and Tychicus. Alexander the coppersmith did much harm to Paul and others had been caught up in the plots and harmful strategies of Alexander. Paul requested that the Lord repay Alexander according to his works and that Timothy should be aware of Alexander also. He had greatly resisted their words. At the charges by Alexander to Paul, no one came to Paul’s defense. Paul asked that this would not be charged to them. A leader must not be afraid to set boundaries for the protection and safety of those they lead. They must also understand the difference between those who are lawless and those who are simply caught in deception. A leader will be opposed by some, abandoned by others, and even required to send some for the destiny of their own journey. These are painful breaches in soul relationships. Though there is pain in losing friendships and suffering for being rejected by those you pour your life out for, a leader must still be eager to invite others to come along side of them in their responsibilities as a leader. This is the life a leader as they lead for the sake of life in the community of Christ.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson