Jan1SunJanuary 1, 2017
Our Roles as Leaders
One of our task as believers in Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, as we embark in a new calendar year is to focus on our roles as leaders. Why do I say we? Quite simply, we all have leadership responsibility within the Body of Messiah. Each one of us has been given a certain responsibility to exercise leadership in areas he or she has been gifted. The real question then is how are we fulfilling His call for us to exercise those leadership gifts?
When we engage a task for Adonai, our beloved God, do we merely bring in the mechanical? Or do we bring the totality of our gifting from Him to the task He has laid out for us? We cannot commit just our mechanical skill set; we must also commit our passion (love) and our sense of function. We are called to add our artistry to our tasks as well as ensuring what we do is done well. I can hear the retorts even as I prepared this short piece – I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Excuse my impertinence, please, but that is not true. God has fashioned us with His artistry and that is a part of us. Each of us has within us some artistic gift, even if ithas not yet been uncovered. Let us not deny the potential of His gifting.
One of the most important gifts a leader may have is sensitivity to people and their hearts. As the prophet Nehemiah dealt with the rebuilding of Jerusalem, following the Assyrian exile, he faced the anger and frustration of those rebuilding, when they were assaulted. Listen to his retort, when confronted - I became extremely angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints. (Nehemiah 2:6) Anger is an emotion stirred by the heart. Yeshua became angry many times; His most deeply felt sense of anger came, when He witnessed injustice, as we read in Matthew 21:12, 13 - Yeshua went into the temple complexand drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves.And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer.But you are making it a den of thieves!” This is righteous anger. Any good leader will feel anger when injustice strikes his people. What makes a leader is the desire and the will to follow through and act upon the anger towards the injustice. Recognizing the anger is focused on the injustice being committed and then taking action to correct the injustice within an organization, a congregation, a family, a friendship circle is the mark of a godly leader.
Then we have the leader’s willingness to join in and share the load. He doesn’t just sit back and observe. We read of this in Nehemiah 6:3. From his words, I conclude Nehemiah is not a proud man - he is a meek man. If he said I am doing a great work, he is doing a good work. He is working alongside his countrymen, sharing the load with them.
The final behaviour I wish to share with you, although there are many more which could be raised, is prayerfulness. Nehemiah was truly a man of prayer. Throughout the book, there are 10 single-sentence prayers he raises to God, such as the prayer we read in Chapter 6:9 - But now, my God, strengthen me. A godly leader must be a man or a woman of prayer. Clearly we are not able to lead on our own and must be led by the one who created us.
What I have discovered in the preparation of this piece is the desire of God that we all be leaders who come together in the way He has gifted us and share our gifts with love and with commitment. Each one of us contributes a valuable gift to the Fellowship of the Body of Messiah, such that without that gift, we are diminished. Some of us lead from the front, others from the side and still others take up the rear; each of us has an important position to occupy. When one of us withholds a gift of God from the Body, we all feel the loss. As believers we are not called to struggle against each other but to collaborate and support, to love each other as we would be loved. There is no ‘they’ in the Body; there is only we.