The calling to leadership is one many seek. Many have visions of the recognition, prestige, the power, the trappings, and the glory that comes with the title, “leader.”
But Paul give us such a different view. And my question is, how many aspiring leaders would answer the call to this job description? How many current leaders see clearly that they pain they feel is a pain they have been called to as leaders for Jesus?
Servants and Stewards
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1 ESV)
We are to be servants of Christ. Christ is our master and we are to obey. We give ourselves for His purposes. His agenda is our agenda. A servants, we do no direct ourselves; it is Christ who directs us.
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV)
Mystery. God is beyond our knowledge yet intends that we should know him. We must confess that even when we claim to know God he is beyond our knowledge. This is the mystery. And there are many more that we as leaders must steward. We have enough given to us to see the mystery, but we are not given the answers. A stewards, we are reminded how little we know, but we must be faithful stewards of what we do.
Stewards have been entrusted. Stewards have been given a thing, entrusted with a thing for a time. They do not own that thing, but they are called to faithful steward that thing…in this case…the mystery of God.
The Apostolic Leader Job Description:
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. (1 Corinthians 4:10 ESV)
“fools for Christ sake”
To live with abandon. To do what other see as folly. To be laughable in front of the world…for Jesus.
The worlds way is strength and power. But that is not so with God’s leaders and stewards. We must be “weak” to the worlds way and weak to our own flesh. We must only find strenght and power in Christ…through the Holy Spirit indwelling us.
“held in disrepute”
To be despised, unhonoured, and look down at. We as leaders must be willing to accept it knowing that we seek to bring true honor to Christ alone.
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, (1 Corinthians 4:11 ESV)
“hunger and thirst”
Lacking that which brings sustenance, that which brings life. To hunger and to thirst is to need. It is to be lacking and unable to provide. We must seek and rely on Jesus, the living water and the bread of life to ease our hunger and satiate our thirst. He, and only He, can provide that which gives true life.
“we are poorly dressed”
Leaders must not allow themselves to put on a false image or pretense. We must not focus on outward appearances, reputations, and fame. We must let Christ dress us in our servants robes alone.
Leaders must bear the blows that come with the position, the authority, and the responsibility…without striking back. We must be buffeted, to bear the brutal treatment…just as Jesus, our example, has done before us.
As leaders, we must find our home in Christ’s will. We shall be tempted to “live ” on our own, but we must see that our home is in the community of believers and leaders are dependent on the grace of others. We should not have a place to “call home”, but rather to see that we are vagabonds for Jesus…leaders in bondage for Christ.
Other Duties As Assigned
and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. (1 Corinthians 4:12-13 ESV)
“labor with our own hands”
Leaders cannot loaf. Leaders cannot live off of the backs of their followers. Leaders must work and never presume on the grace of others. Leaders do their part and show no hint of entitlement.
“when reviled, when persecuted, when slandered,”
As leaders, let us not fall into the trap of the world patterns to revile those who revile us. Let us not follow the world’s example and persecute those who persecute us. Let us not travel the world’s path and slander those who slander us. Let us follow Christ’s model alone. His ways are not the world’s ways. Our ways shall not be the world’s ways.
If the world is to call us scum or refuse or trash because we live, lead, and steward for Jesus…then so be it. To walk, as leaders, in Jesus’s footsteps is true treasure and the only place a leader should ever seek out a crown.
This is the job description that Paul lays out before us. This is our calling as leader and as a steward…are we up to call?