Today I want to challenge you all as leaders in the body of Christ. A leader is not someone who is a scholar or a professional. They are not leaders because of their administrative expertise. A leader is not someone who can give eloquent, impressive sermons; nor someone who is a great orator, educator, or instructor. When we exalt these things we rob the church of the spiritual blessings that only spiritual fathers and mothers can bring. We don’t need information without love, mercy, or understanding. We don’t need information about love, about mercy, or about understanding. We need love, mercy, and understanding. We lead because we have be sent by God our Father to activate, facilitate, and release His children to know Him, mature in Him, and become expressions of Him in this world. Humanity is the family of God and only by knowing Him and depending upon Him can men and women fulfill their destiny in life. These things can only be made manifest through a close relationship with God, God’s people, and the spiritual example of true fathers and mothers in the faith.
Leaders are willing to go through struggles in life on behalf of others. Whatever you might be going through at this time in your life is not for you, but is for the sake of those you affect in this world. Can you hold on to the good news of a God who is good in the midst of situations that don’t appear to be good? We are here for the well being of others so whatever we find ourselves going through in life is ultimately for the well being of others. This even includes being transparent and vulnerable in the wrestles of our own hearts and the walking out of the will of God in the midst of our own weaknesses. God is transforming us, even as He desires to transform those we serve for the glory of His character, nature, way, power, and authority. We are leaders in His family for the sake of revealing His family in the earth.
1 Thessalonians 2:1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy knew that their role as leaders in the body of Christ included their ability to live life and go through all things they had to go through for the sake of others (1Thes. 1:1). The conflicts of their lives were not self-inflicted for the cause of their own selfish needs. The conflicts of their lives came about through their willingness to live for the sake of others. They were willing to lose their own reputations for the sake of loving those God had sent them to. Their objective as leaders was to live responsibly before God in the commission given to them for the sake of the future generations of the church. As leaders, God has entrusted us with a task of bringing the good news of God’s kingdom to others in the way that God desires for it to be given. We are not to be men-pleasers, but pleasers of God our Father. We lead for the sake of the Father’s will in and through the lives of His sons and daughters in the earth. Our task as leaders is not to assess the needs of the people and then seek God for the presumed answers to human needs. Our task as leaders is to seek the will of our heavenly Father and then ask God how we may extend the good news of His will to those he has sent us to. The Father is the one who knows the true needs of human hearts. We often seek to mend the fruits of men and women’s lives, but God knows the roots of the human heart that manifest in the fruits of their ways. People don’t usually know what they truly need. What the think they need is what has gotten them into the situations they so often find themselves in. When people do what they have always done they will always get what they have always gotten. God is the one who knows how to give them new results and how to put them on the path of true destiny. We must be leaders for the sake of God’s will, not the will of the people. We must be willing to be misunderstood and rejected at times in our task of extending heavenly news into earthly situations.
1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.
Being leaders is not a hierarchy of command. It is not a position of glory before men. It seems that leaders often error is seeking the glory from those they lead. Being a leader is a position of servant hood to God and servant hood to those God sends them to. Our ministry to and before men is not to seek their approval, but to equip them and exhort them in their process of coming to maturity as children of God. Our way as leaders must be that of seeking to give life to those we lead. It is not a job; it is a mandate. It is part of our role in the hope of His calling. It is our position of authority as part of the riches of His inheritance. It is the a measure of the testimony of His power that we carry to change the world behind us in this world.
1 Thessalonians 2:6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
Our task as leaders is to constantly live as examples to those we lead. We must exhort, comfort, and even charge those we lead as a father does his own children. We embrace the mother nature of God to in gentleness, nurturing, and love and the father nature of God in inspiring the generations to embrace the Father’s will in destiny. We live for the Father’s glory and our responsibility before men is to invite men and women into the greatness of our family name.
1 Thessalonians 2:10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
What we have to offer those we lead is not the fruit of our own gifting and talents. We are not administrators of human abilities. We are ministers of the expressions of God among men and women. We are distributors of the truth given to us by God. We do not lead according to our own abilities. We lead by the grace given to us by God for the sake of His kingdom and His will in the generations of humanity.
1 Thessalonians2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
I encourage you all to embrace the hope of His calling, stand fast as the riches of His inheritance, and release the power of His resurrection life in all that you are and do for the sake of His glory. You are leaders in the body of Christ – LEAD!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson