Church Leadership

 JESUS SPEAKING

            Then Peter said to him, “Lord do you speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”

           And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers” (Luke 12: 42-46.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

             Jesus is speaking with his disciples about his future delayed return; we are still waiting; impatience with his return can lead to sin as illustrated by the servant who began to beat the other servants.  Jesus references a Jewish marriage tradition to illustrate this truth.  Often, during wedding feasts, the master of a house would leave to celebrate a wedding; when all of the guests arrived at the home where the wedding was to take place, the doors were locked.  The wedding could go on for a day or two, or it could go on for a week or more.  The master’s return therefore could not be predicted.  He could return at 4:00 in the morning on Wednesday, or at midnight on Saturday.  When the master of the house left for the wedding feast, he placed someone in charge of his affairs, and they were all to be ready for his eventual return.  The lamps were to be filled with oil, the bed made ready, and the servants were to be prepared to serve the master upon his arrival.  Jesus used the description of the wedding feast, and the absent master to draw a picture for his disciples of something they didn’t yet understand.  They didn’t know that Jesus would be crucified and that he would leave for the Kingdom of God with a promise to return again.  Their duties would be to serve the body of Christ, and to give them their physical and spiritual food.  Failure to do so would result in punishment, and a reward would be given to those who were faithful in doing this daily.  Interestingly, Jesus puts the believing leaders who misrepresent God, and abuse their power, in the same category as those who are not believers.  It is possible that leadership in a church carries with it a greater condemnation than those who are members of the congregation.

             In the United States, a brand new industry has arisen, known as ‘Mystery Shopping.’  Most employers and corporations have recognized that when they tour their facilities the employees behave in a way that is unnatural; they ‘put on a show’ so to speak, to impress their bosses.  Some employees are lazy, and some are hard workers; some are polite, and some are cold, but when the boss is around, everyone is a hard worker, and everyone is polite.  Many employers now hire regular people off of the street to become shoppers at their stores and facilities; they observe and report all that they see and experience.  They are disguised to discover the truth, because it is human nature to pretend when it benefits the individual who is pretending.  When the employees experience a mystery shopper, it changes the environment.  They must continually be prepared to behave as though every customer were an in disguise ‘mystery shopper.’ 

             Jesus makes it clear that his servants are to treat each day, each hour, each minute, and each second, as the time of his possibly return.  Today, a lack of faith in the promised return of Jesus Christ has caused a great many church leaders to misbehave; many church leaders have used the churches money to gain vast quantities of material wealth and possessions.  Many have used their positions of authority and trust to gain sexual favors, and to commit sexually deviant behaviors.  Many have abandoned teaching the gospel, in favor of promoting some new ‘feel good book.’  Still others have completely walked away from God because they have become dissatisfied with God’s delayed return.  What can we do to avoid making these mistakes?  Being genuine for starters, and keeping hope alive in our hearts.  We can become disobedient when we lose hope in his return.  We must live in expectation of that return, every moment, every second, every day, and every hour.  We can recognize that God’s promise to return will come to pass.  We should all be serving God, continually, and we must never lose hope, but continue in faith to serve him, and to serve others, daily.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we ask and pray that You would give us an expectant heart, and a hope in Your return that is not fleeting.  May You increase our faith in Your promises and give us a heart to serve You and to serve others.  Direct us Lord to know the duties and the responsibilities that You have given each one of us, individually.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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