Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Every summer we used to take a large delegation to a great youth conference in Ocean City, New Jersey. One of our veteran staff was in charge of that delegation, and it was a big responsibility at the shore. When my son was old enough to go to that conference, he commented on Greg's leadership. He said, "You know, Greg's really serious." Well my wife and I kind of laughed. We said, "Oh, you should hear some of the crazy things he's done down at Ocean City." And then my son said, "Not any more. He's in charge now." Well, my son was making a pretty valid observation. As your authority increases, so does your responsibility. Followers, I guess, can goof off, but leadership; oh, that's serious business.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Leadership Lifestyle."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is about leaders, and you might be one whether you realize it or not. Hebrews 13:17 - "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority." Now, I've always thought "Hey, wouldn't it be great to be one of those leaders? You get to be obeyed and submitted to." Yeah, wait until you hear the rest of the verse. "...they keep watch over you as men who must give an account." Whoa.
That means that if you have anyone looking to you, you will one day have the privilege and the opportunity to explain to God what you did with those people. Man! "God, here's how I influenced those people and why they ended up as they did."
Well see, God's looking for people that He can trust with a promotion. He's looking for teachers and leaders, and musicians, and shepherds for His Kingdom. And maybe He's trusted you with some influence: a class, or a study group, a church, maybe a musical ministry, a position of authority in God's work. Well, then, be careful how you live. You can do so much good, and you can do so much harm.
In a letter that James Dobson wrote years ago he told about an incident that occurred when he went to a Christian book seller's convention and for the first time he saw all of his materials displayed and his picture all over the place. And he said, "I heard as it were almost an audible voice saying, 'Jim, look around you. I have chosen for reasons that you don't understand to make you visible and influential with My people. And in that sense, I am preparing to make the work of My Kingdom vulnerable to you. That's why I'm telling you to be careful; think before you act; hold a tighter reign on your tongue and on your thought life than ever before. When your natural impulse is to become angry or vindictive, resist the temptation as much as possible, and keep your life free of willful and deliberate sin. You will soon be in a position to hurt my people. See that it doesn't happen.'" Whew! Man!
Now, you're not a Dobson, or some spiritual star perhaps, but maybe God's lifted you to a place where others are looking at you or to you. And it's exciting, but it's a heavy responsibility; one for which you must give account the Bible says. Exercise care in what you say, what you laugh at, what you joke about. Be careful what you watch. Be careful what you listen to. Stop with the negative comments, the critical comments before anybody can hear them, those displays of anger, those double-meaning comments. Huh-uh, not for you; not now.
God has called you to some measure of leadership and the responsible lifestyle that goes with that. I think that's an awfully powerful incentive to be all you were meant to be in Christ. It's a good thing; a good reason to live up to what Jesus wants all of His kids to live up to. But He has put trust in your hands. He's put His reputation in your hands. He has made His Kingdom vulnerable to you. You are in a position to hurt some of God's people. See that it doesn't happen.