The Burden of Leadership
The writer of Hebrews shares a reality kick with us that is often over looked. In the 13th chapter, verse 7 it reads (we refer to the NASB version), “remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” The Greek text uses the word ēogumenōn which means to lead and is from the word agō meaning, “I lead, bring, and guide”.
Do you believe you are a leader in ministry? Have you been called to lead and guide? Are you worthy enough to be imitated? Are you ready for people to see you, hear you, and watch you so that they may order their own lives after yours? THAT is an enormous call yet it is at the very heart of the call to be a leader.
Let’s focus on the last part of that – the hard part of this Scripture!
“Imitate”; meaning either their faithfulness, by owning the truths and ordinances of the Gospel before men; by reproving fellow Christians in love; by discharging the several duties of their place in the church; and by performing the private duties of life: or the grace of faith, their strong exercise of it, together with its fruits and effects, love, and good works; also the profession of their faith, which they hold fast unto the end; and the doctrine of faith, by embracing the same, as it appears agreeably to the word; by abiding by it, standing fast in it, striving for it, and persevering in it to the end.**
(**Source: Gills Exposition of the Bible/BiibleStudyTools/com/commentaries/Hebrews-13-7)
As a leader, we must accept that we will constantly be scrutinized, analyzed, and taken apart piece by piece and closely examined. Most people are not looking for the faith-filled pieces of the puzzle that make up who we are, though. Most people are looking for the flaws, the errors, some evidence that we are not meant to be a leader or even more, for the flaws to which they can make a connection with you. If the writer of Hebrews is to be obeyed, everyone around us, those people who we strive to touch and to move and to inspire, those people are expected to model their lives after ours!
As leaders in ministry we are charge with paying attention to our own
- Ownership of the Gospel
- Duties of the Church
- Performance of our Private Lives
- Exercising of Grace and Faith
- Fruits of Our Labors
- Our Love
- Our Doctrines
Hebrews ask us if we will pass the test that, when our leadership is over, will people remember us for our ability to have stood fast in the faith, that we strived for the faith, and the we continued to preserve in our faith until our last breath.
Do not take the call to leadership arrogantly or with pride-filled character. It is a role that we truly must be CALLED in to and carried in to by the prompting and guiding of the Holy Spirit.
As you stand in front of not only the worldly mirror but the spiritual one as well, what is reflected back to you? Who do you see? Do you see a wolf in sheep’s clothing or do you see a leader, with all the elements and characteristics of humanity, clothed in a garment prepared especially by the Holy Spirit for you?
Every day, those of us who are leaders are required (although it may seem ‘unduly pressured to’ would be more appropriate) to be examples to everyone we encounter – even those on the fringes. Those who are looking in from a distance see our every move. It is so much easier for us to lead when they are shaking our hands and looking in to our eyes. But how much more of a difficult task is it to minister to those we may not even be able to notice are watching us? The ones that are just around the corner observing, wondering what this ‘religious stuff’ is all about and examining your every move to see if you truly are leading or misleading.
Leadership is so much more than bumper sticker theology – it is theology in the trenches, it is theology in action, it is theology with skin on it, it is theology from the heart, mind, spirit and souls of those who are gifted with the title of leader.