August 16, 2013
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
Humility is a standard Peter sets for leaders. He writes that leaders should lead as examples and not as lords over the flock they shepherd. Humility is a challenging concept. If we think we are humble we are probably not humble. You probably heard of the church that gave its pastor a medal for humility but had to take it back because he wore it every Sunday.
In Scotland a young seminary graduate was to give the sermon as a candidate for a church that had an elderly pastor about to retire. The pulpit was one of those old elevated ones that you had to climb many steps in order to preach. With a pride that bordered on arrogance the young man climbed up to preach. He had a disaster of a sermon. When he came down in tears the old retiring pastor said to him, “Lad if you had gone up the way you came down you would have come down the way you went up!”
The verse quoted describes a covenant with God’s part and our part. Our part is to humble ourselves. It is God’s part to exalt us. C. S. Lewis wrote that pride is the mother of all sins. “To live above with the saints we have loved Oh that will be glory. But to live below with those we know that’s another story.” As a veteran pastor I can tell you that when there is a sharp dispute among two disciples a pastor will often find somebody’s pride at the bottom of the dispute.
Humble yourself. That’s your business. Exalting you is God’s business.
August 21, 2012
“It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.” (Lamentations 3:27)
There is a lot of interest today in leadership. You can get your Ph. D. in leadership in many universities. I regret that we do not present more opportunities to young people for the rigorous and difficult training that produces leaders. I thank God for the military academies, and the Marines, along with the various kinds of Special Forces like the Seals where young people can be trained to be leaders of our military.
I can now reflect back on many decades since I became a follower of Jesus in 1949. I have come to the conclusion that God is the great Mentor of leaders and He does His most effective mentoring when things are difficult and adversarial. Scripture records God’s method for developing men into the great leaders of the people of God.
His process is described in the poem below by Dale Martin Stone:
“When God wants to drill a man
And thrill a man and skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all his heart
To create so bold a man
That the whole world will be amazed,
Watch his methods. Watch his ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay,
Which only God can understand.
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands.
How God bends, but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses him,
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out—
God knows what He’s about.”
Is God calling you to be a leader?