Following the Leader

Ponderings

As I sit here reflecting over the past week, waiting for my cup of evening tea to steep, I find that many of my thoughts are also steeping in my brain. I invite you to join me in this process, as I try to discover what God is teaching me…

There is a mystery to leadership. I am quickly discovering that, for a large part, leadership means learning to be led. This is not always the easiest lesson to learn. In fact, it sometimes takes tripping over my own two feet to realize I lead best when I’m looking up, following, and trusting my Leader to guide me.

This week I had a few of those “trip up” moments. Living life in a Christian community can be a great blessing. However, since coming to Adelphia, there have been  times when it’s quite challenging, and can even lead me to frustration. This was one of those weeks. Fortunately, God is a good leader, and is faithful in patiently teaching me lessons along the way…..

More recently, I am learning just as much about the unique sets of gifts and graces each person possesses, as I am their pains and struggles. Coming alongside, and living life with people teaches me about joy and peace, love and care and prayer. Most of all, the process of walking through life with others gives me a glimpse of God’s love, often at times when I start feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.

Another lesson God’s teaching me is the importance of humbly surrendering to Him, rather than seeking power and control. The third temptation of Jesus was the temptation of power. “I will give you all the kingdoms of this world in their splendor,” the demon said to Jesus (Mt. 4:9). The interesting thing is that Jesus did not cling to his divine power, but emptied himself and became as we are. Sometimes the temptation to consider power as an apt instrument of the Gospel is the greatest of all. What is it about power that is so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it’s that power offers an easy substitute for love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life, than to love life. Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” We ask, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom?” (Mt. 20:21). Ever since the Garden of Eden we’ve been tempted to replace love with power. Jesus lived that temptation in the most agonizing way from the desert to the cross. The sad reality is, left to myself, I am tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led.

The temptation of power is greatest when intimacy is a threat. People unable to give and receive love oftentimes have a difficult time being led…even when they’re being led by someone loving, or even the one who is Love. Today, I am choosing to be led, by following the God who Sovereignly placed me in this leadership role at Adelphia. I desire to love others the way Jesus does, by receiving the love He showed me first. Please pray for me in this pursuit.

These are just a handful of thoughts I’ve been mulling over this week. While my time in the classroom at PBC and MU were beneficial on so many levels, the things I’ve been learning cannot be taught in an institution. The most valuable lessons in life are oftentimes birthed out of the  challenges and joys of living life with others. And ultimately, the greatest lessons are always birthed out of the joys and challenges of living a life following Jesus…my Leader.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

Philippians 2:3-8

 

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