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What Is The Greatest Gift a Leader Can Give to Their People?

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Nov 1, 2013 @ 10:15 am

“We build more quickly in wood, hay, and stubble than we do in gold, silver, and precious stone.”   - Amy Carmichael

Which is greater? To give, or to receive? The clear answer is that to give… is greater than to receive. “Without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater” (Heb. 7:7). Who is greater? The one served or the one serving? Jesus said, “The one being served is greater, but I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). Jesus said that even though the one being served is greater He choose to serve because serving others is a greater use of one’s life.

So what is the greatest thing a leader can give to his or her people? It seems clear that the leader must be able to bless their people with a life that is blessed by God, that is, to live a life that is an example of what God can and will bless.  This life will be a life of service to the people! After all, what is it we long to hear from our heavenly Master? “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23).

So, let’s break it down into two parts…

One; that we give our people a life that is blessed by God.  What does this mean? It means that Grace is abundantly evident in our lives. This great reality reminds us that God’s love and favor pour out on us, and then… through us! This life of overflowing love spills out on all those who are around us. As Apostle Paul stated, “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5). We give to our people a life of divine love… we love them and we care for them.

Two; that we give our people a life of service. What does this mean? It means that we help them to know and serve the Lord even as we know and serve the Lord. We educate and equip them with all the tools we have been given by others so that they can serve the Lord to the best of their ability. We are multiplying our life into their lives, one by one… and over and over. This is a daily calling to those we serve!

What can happen to leaders is that we may get tired of loving and serving people. People can be a huge disappointment and often appear to be a wasted effort. Paul worried that the Thessalonian followers might have been tempted by the Tempter and that as a result of this, his labor would be in vain.  ie: a huge waste of time and effort! (see 1 Thess 3) No leader called by God wants to waste his time and efforts. Our time and energy are precious gifts that we freely give to fulfill this calling we have as leaders.   We must also love the people as we serve them. Otherwise we can fail them and become protective of our time and energy, cynical, and even question if anyone will ever become a trained and effective leader. We may complain, “They just don’t not make them like they used to.” We become unwilling to spend time “on them”, or “with them”. We refuse to waste our energy training them and showing them how to serve the Lord.

To guard against this risk of wasted time and effort, we must be careful who we select to train, and who we end up pouring so much of our love and energy into. This selection process is so important that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before choosing the twelve He would train. Have we done this preliminary work of prayer (and even fasting) before investing hours and hours, even weeks and weeks into someone?  Paul tells us that we should look for “faithful men who will teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2). Your careful attention to this is all important! No one but the leader can train up the next set of leaders. John Maxwell noted, “Those closest to the leader will determine his level of success.”  Who will you invest in and bring close to you? This is a whole study in itself. Simply put, we look for people who are willing to be a team player, work with us and others to accomplish something greater than themselves. We look for someone willing to change whatever God asks us to change in order to make His dreams become a reality. We look for obedient followers of Christ, for they are the ones we can trust and develop. We train them to be strong and full of the motivating power of faith, hope, and love. This is grace based leadership training.

What is the greatest gift I can give to my people? A life that can be duplicated and a life that is being duplicated. See that? Can it be multiplied and is it being multiplied? This is the combination of the greatest gift a leader can give to those he serves!

Here is a great question: Is what I am doing, feeling or thinking, something that can or should be multiplied over and over? If it were to be duplicated, would it make the church or organization stronger and better or would it make weaker and more ineffective?

List out the things that you desire to be in your church or organization. Prayer life, discipline, compassion, unselfishness, sacrificial attitude and habits, focus and visionary efforts, sharing my faith, etc. is that what you practice every day? What will daily practicing of these choices do to your church or organization? Would these practices create more of a contrast to choices of complaining, criticizing, ignoring others, refusing to help or give a listening ear, holding back wise counsel, etc.?

If you want a successful ministry it is made up of years of loving service. Years are made up of months and months are made up of weeks and weeks are made up of days that consistently show this love and service. Get the idea?

What are you doing today that will result in a lifetime of great leadership? Today is where and when it all starts. Today is the all-important “right now” for you and your work. What are you doing today to promote your greatest gift to your people? A life of loving service…

Father, thank You for calling and enriching us in so many ways. May we be like You, full of love, and eager to serve those we have been entrusted with by You. We are working for the day when we see You and bow before You in grateful worship. We long to hear Your words that we did our job well and that we were faithful to You. May we multiply our lives over and over to the last breath.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

We Thank God, But God Thanks Us, His Leaders?

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David @ 10:05 am

“I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that He has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like…Besides, He makes all creation help provide the benefits and necessities of life… none of us has life—or anything else that has been mentioned here or can be mentioned—from ourselves, nor can we by ourselves preserve any of them, however small and unimportant. All this is comprehended in the word ―Creator.”  Martin Luther 1529

 

This is the season that we reflect on all for which we are thankful for and express that thanks to God. We consider the vastness of what we owe Him as our Creator and Savior and it overwhelms us. We cry out like E.V. Hill declared, “I’ve gotta praise Jesus. All that I am He made me, all that I have He gave me, all that I know He taught me.”    What has deeply impacted me, personally, is that our God not only in His person and work calls to us for thanksgiving, He, Himself, also gives thanksgiving. He thanks us! He does not have to do that since He is the source and first cause of all things!  But, amazingly, He will soon be handing out honors to His people when we come to the great Judgment Seat of Christ, rewarding them in many ways.

Calvin Coolidge wisely observed, “No man is honored for what they receive, but for what they give.”

Six crowns of gold will be dispensed to the laborers and servants of the living God. The crowns given to the overcomers are for various aspects of our service to God. 1- The Crown of Life is given to those who persevere under duress and temptation (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10). 2- The Crown of Rejoicing is for the ones who influence others to follow Christ, they are fishers of men (Matt. 4:19, 1 Thess 2:19). 3- The Imperishable Crown (1 Cor 9:24-27) is given to those who run the whole race and never get distracted or deterred. They run every day with focus, sacrifice, obedience, and faithfulness. “Consistency you are a rare jewel”.  4- The Crown of Righteousness is given to those who long for and earnestly look for Christ’s second coming (2 Tim 4:7-8). These are constantly saying, “Maybe He is coming today. I must be ready. I must prepare for that moment.” 5- The Crown of Glory is given to leaders who do their job in an honorable way, they are examples of what they teach. (1 Pet. 5:4) 6- The Golden Crown for all overcomers is given to all who appear before the throne of God in heaven. (Rev.4:4)  These crowns, we will then throw down before the throne in gratitude and worship because we will fully realize none of the honors bestowed on us are due to our own ability and wisdom, they are all from Him who sits on the throne. (Rev. 4:10-11)

These honors and moments of God’s lavish gratitude give focus to our lives. These are what God treasures in our leadership. How many of the six will you receive as a leader? God will thank you one day for your service. He will acknowledge the fine job you have done. He will lift you before the throngs and crowds of heaven and will say, “Well done! Good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things now I will give you greater things.” Matt 25:21-23, Luke 19:16-19.

Here is a major mistake… living for the approval of men. Paul wrote that if we live to please men we will not please God (Gal. 1:10). Jim Elliot also articulated it well, “He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Living for the power, possessions, pleasures, and praises of this world is to lose that crown. C.S. Lewis wisely concluded, “Live for earth you lose heaven. Live for heaven and you get earth thrown in.” John, Jesus’ best friend wrote, “Watch yourselves so that you do not lose what you have accomplished but that you may receive the full reward”(2 John 8). This is serious business. It is so easy to lose the crown and thanks of God. Carelessness, ignorance, distraction, depression, etc. can all come in like a stormy day and wash away all that we  have worked for. When the pressure is on we can quit the calling we have received, the ministry, the task of multiplying our lives in others, the vision of reaching the harvest fields of this world, the Great Commandment and Great Commission of our Lord (Matt. 22:37-40, 28:18-20).

But God is not forgetful or negligent to remember your labor and love. Read Heb. 6:10. “God is not unjust to forget your work and the love which you have shown to His Name, I having ministered and am still ministering to the saints.” Wow! God will thank you for the hard work and love you have shown for His Name, His harvest, His Kingdom, His people, and those who need to be trained and mentored.

What this has meant to me is beyond words. Firstly, I am overwhelmed to realize that God is going to thank us for our work and love. We have nothing and we can give nothing but that we  first received it from Him. We love Him because He first loved us. How can we, then, be thanked for our love? This is the generous and loving nature of our God and King. He will thank us in His grace, giving us lavish amounts of what we do not deserve and what we cannot earn! Even our honors are gifts of His grace!

Secondly, He is an example of how we should thank those who work with us. If He is so generous in giving lavish amounts of praise and gratitude to us, we should be all the more generous to our fellow workers. Let’s lavishly thank the workers in our churches and ministry. They deserve it from us for they are truly helping us to accomplish what we could never do alone. Their willingness and teamwork are what is making the impossible happen. Let’s honor and applaud them. Let’s give them public and private credit. Bring them in front of the church or organization and tell everyone what they have done, what difference they have made in the church.  Do something that says, “We honor you and are thankful for what you have done.”

Lastly, make today count!  Focus and persevere. Do today what you know will earn that reward and thanks from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Use today to the best of your ability.

Father, I thank You for Your generosity and wisdom in giving such generous gifts to us, Your servants. I am overwhelmed that You would even thank us for what we have done to serve You. Heaven is enough and too much already. But that is the awesomeness of Your generosity and kindness. May today, I and those reading this, live to honor You in all we do and say and in every way we can today. In Jesus Name, thank You! Amen.