As one writes for others, one needs to be captivated by an idea, or a person. This inspiration is then shaped into words that hopefully communicate impactful truth. When it came time to do this Musing, I ran to my treasure trove of clipped articles from this past year. They were all right there in my computer’s idea file. I had saved many of them as brain fodder for future Musing ideas. There were a lot of outstanding articles and challenging concepts, yet, as I perused them, I was surprised, appalled and even ashamed. There was an abundance of material about change, leadership and organizationla life. For many of the articles I could even think of a Biblical text to give them legitimacy. However, where were the ideas originating from the Holy Scriptures and the life of our Lord as their starting inspiration?
There has probably been no season of my life where I have spent more time with God in His Word. It has refreshed, challenged and comforted me. Yet as I reflected, why was it that the starting point for so many of the reflections I share with you are drawn from the world in which we live, the leadership/management pundits and not from the God we serve? Immediately some other inconvenient follow-up questions troubled my conscience.
Is God’s voice as the Spirit illuminates His Divine word so muted by my cultural captivity that I fail to hear or understand the true dynamic power of the work to which God has called us?
Have I unconsciously come to believe that the techniques of change management, organizational processes and self-help efficiencies give me more of what is required to see God’s kingdom advance than His Grace that calls all of us to be witnesses to and participants in Jesus’s life, death and resurrection?
Has my work for Christ become impossible to distinguish from the efforts of other conscientious leaders, managers or others in the “helping professions.?” These may be truly “good people,” but they make no profession to being followers of Jesus.
Have my mental image and aspiration for the success in ministry become so ensnared by societal expectations that the truth of the cross has been muted and Christ’s own words in John 15:18-21 (the world hating his followers just as it hated him) have been banished even as possibilities from my consciousness?
I want to be liked, respected and my work for Christ to be eternally impactful. I desire for my message and methods to be seen as relevant and on the cutting edge and also Biblical. At times eternity and being Biblical are almost an add-on. Stewardship demands that we work smart and efficiently, but I also desperately need to be reminded that “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” The Church grows by means of grace flowing from God, the Father, by way of the Holy Spirit as Christ is revealed, not by way of the latest dynamite technique or method I fall in love with.
I long for those signs that Jesus promised would accompany the advance of His kingdom. I want them to be demonstrated in my ministry. Yet, too often I forget that His death came before the power demonstrated in the resurrection. I focus on the desire for “much fruit” and conveniently forget that fruit requires that “the corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.”
Perhaps it is the Lenten season of the Church calendar that has intruded un-invited into my trendy management/leadership world, but I deeply desire for the Spirit and the Word to re-focus me on the things that are eternal not merely temporal, on ministry values and power that have a more firm foundation in the example and words of the Master we follow. Jesus, not Drucker, Seth Godin or some other leadership guru, must be my model. Jesus must be my inspiration, my center and set my imagination aflame.
Your friend and fellow pilgrim, … Paul