As leaders, we are not merely called by God to lead churches or to lead various administrations of service. We are called by God to lead people. Leadership is not a job; it is a twenty-four hour per day reality and responsibility in life. It is a testimony of what we are anointed to be in life. It is not a job we were hired to do or selected my men to perform. Leadership is not a task given that you can easily be released from or simply put on or put away like a piece of clothing from our dresser drawer or closet. Leadership is a gift from God for the sake of leading others.
In the Old Covenant the responsibility of a leader was to take people by the hand and lead them (Jer. 31:32). We cannot take people by the hand and lead them in life. That will never empower people to become who they are meant to be in life. We must lead to empower people to know who they are and to be who they are destined to be in the everyday world of their daily lives. We are not to make decisions for those we lead or tell them what to do. We are to serve them by activating, facilitating, and releasing the life of Christ within them to become human beings who live lives filled with the testimony of God in the world. They must be spiritual people empowered, anointed, and led in life. They must know the power and life of the Spirit of God within them, discover their unique roles in life, and join with others to produce the effects of God’s life in the world and to the world that continues to exist even after they have transitioned to the greater glory of heaven.
So many times we think that the things of the Spirit are spiritual and the things of the natural are natural. Religious cultures have left us a bankrupt mentality of life. We have somehow bought a lie that God’s world is separate from our world and that our world is separate from His. This has left us bound to realities of poverty, depravity, and meaningless activities in life. I believe that human beings were born to be spiritual beings in life. They are both natural and spirit and both of these realities are what make them spiritual in everything they are and do in life. It is not more spiritual to pray for the sick than for a mother to care for her children. It is not less spiritual for a man to drive a truck than to cast out a demon. It is not more holy to sing worship songs than for men and women to lay their lives down for one another out of a preference of love. It is not more holy to wait on tables than to sit at Jesus’ feet and it is not less holy to wait on tables than to sit at His feet. It is all a matter of the responsibility and important thing of the moment. Mary was not more spiritual than Martha; she simply knew what was important at the moment.
As leaders we must lead to empower others to be spiritual in life. We must be spiritual and empower others to be spiritual also. We must be sons and daughters of God who serve to empower others to be sons and daughters of God in life. Paul wrote some words in regard to being spiritual people.
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
The word ‘gifts’ in the above text is not in the original Greek. It is an added word to explain the context of the letter. I believe that the translators have missed the point of this chapter by adding the word ‘gifts’. The chapter is not about spiritual ‘gifts’. It is about being spiritual people. It includes gifts of the Spirit, the ministry of Christ’s body, and the effects or workings of the body in the world. This chapter is describing the empowerment of humanity from within, the diversity of humanity in revealing Christ to the world, and the purpose of humanity in effecting the world through relationships and functions of destiny. In all of these, human beings are to be spiritual.
Paul starts by saying that when we were not in covenant with God, lifeless, voiceless things were the drive and passion of our purpose. We were motivated by fleshly passions and desires, but at least we were motivated. Things such as parties, business, education, sports, adventure, vacations, shopping, music, science, discovery, and many other things that do not reveal or release the true destiny of human beings led us. Things are not the true issue. They are not necessarily bad, but when they become the controllers and motivators of our lives they bind us to being natural people. They become the idols and lords of our lives. The real issue Paul was dealing with was one of being spiritual. Paul was challenging believers to be the most passionate and purpose focused human beings on earth. They looked like people with destiny when they were dead, but now they should really reveal the true destiny of human beings in the earth. They must be spiritual people. They were born to reveal the Lordship of Jesus in life! This can only happen by the power, testimony, and purpose of the Holy Spirit manifested in their lives.
We must not be ignorant in being spiritual. We must not ignore, have little use for, have little value for, be uneducated to, or slack in any way in being spiritual people in life. Our role as leaders is to help people discover this mystery of life.
The true subject of Paul’s writing is found in verse four of this chapter.
1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
Paul was dealing with the subject of gifts of the Spirit, ministries of Christ, and effects or workings of God in life. To be spiritual people we must have the power of the Spirit, know the uniqueness of who we are in being human’s expressing the power of Christ, and we must know our divine connections for our purpose in life. All humans must be empowered by God’s Spirit in their spirits, led by the spirit in their souls, and reveal a spiritual testimony in life. Paul was not merely talking about how gifts of the Spirit function in an institution called the church. He was talking about how the life of the Spirit works to make human beings spiritual in their expression as the Church of Christ in life.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson