“I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.” -1Peter 5:1-3 [MSG]
Yesterday was Thursday. For the truth to be told, when I went to Challenge, I wasn’t feeling it. All through worship, I didn’t feel connected. As the message was brought, I was empty. When I got home, I felt discouraged. I thought to myself, is this it? If so, can I do this forever?
Back tracking to Wednesday night, I got home from school and my plan was to read and post an entry. I got to the reading part, but I was so incredibly tired for some reason, I fell asleep really early. The Scripture above was sticking out to me so I put it into draft and then went to bed.
It seems to speak a little louder after Thursday night’s encounter.
There are times when Challenge feels so natural and gets me really pumped up. Take last week, when Open Mic happened. That was a really great, encouraging night for staff members. It was moving to hear how God has worked over the past year in the members and how Challenge has been apart of that growth. I felt the coming glory in those moments. I felt purposed and apart of what God is doing in our city.
Then the times come that I feel the suffering. I feel like I am laboriously grinding at the stone, sweating for what seems to be nothing. God: are you there in those moments too? I can’t tell. The very thought of spontaneity in those times seems impossible. Unless you’re talking about spontaneously disappearing.
But caring for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd is more like what I’m supposed to do. Not because I have to, although many times I’m on that train. A shepherd has lots of responsibility. But the greatest responsibility is nothing but pleasing God. I think this can mean a lot of things in itself though.
Personally, in those times where I’m on the long black train, I think pleasing God is being honest with him. Never is it going to please God to participate in growth stunting activity, like pulling away from community (spontaneously disappearing), or reading the Bible just for something to read and then leaving it behind, or worse yet, putting the Bible on a shelf. The list goes on: holding grudges, thinking the worst about people, going through the motions in worship, choosing the fetal position (the couch) over learning to walk (growth)… seriously, I could go on and on. And on.
Be honest with God, don’t hide from him or run away (running away from God is like running on a treadmill by the way). It’s like any relationship. If you don’t confront an issue, the relationship will continue to get more awkward. Yeah, it hurts to tell God the truth about how you’re feeling (and the truth is he already knows the truth). But it’s necessary to relieve the pressure, otherwise the relationship gets stagnant.
It’s not about me. Leadership is one of the hardest things to balance because personal glory is always something easy to grab on to. I can’t focus on what I want and what my needs are. It’s one of those things where selflessness is super important but selfishness is so much easier to be had. It’s easier to get annoyed and suspect the worst out of people, to tell them what the right way is. Tenderness is tough. But what do I gain from being selfish? Actually, I don’t gain much but regret for my actions.
As a leader, I must keep pleasing my God by bringing honest words to him, and bringing Him glory, even when sometimes it feels like it should be mine. I have to remember who I am in light of who the God of the nations is.