Isaiah 66:1-2 - Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; what is the house that you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest? All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word."
As he filled out his daughter's paperwork for summer camp, a father came upon this question: "Would you classify your child as a leader or as a follower?" After a few moments thought, he replied that she was usually pretty much a follower.
A week after mailing the application, the father received a notice that his daughter had been accepted to camp. The director noted that, "Having already enrolled 58 leaders for the summer, we are thankful to have at least one follower."
Presidential candidates turn purple, strenuously trying to convince us of their own personal leadership qualities. If our country needs leaders, so in much larger measure does the church of Jesus. Yet not the kind of leader so highly prized by the world.
What makes a Christian leader? "This is the one to whom I will look," says the Lord, "he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word."
Humility. The world believes in "winning by intimidation." The world admires people who pull themselves up "by their bootstraps." God values men and women who have a realistic grasp on who the Lord is: the ultra-holy, wholly Other, the omnipotent Ancient of Days. God lifts up men and women who know who they are—sinners, redeemed by the blood of Christ. God rejoices in men and women who realize their worth as sons and daughters of the King of grace.
Contrite in spirit. Dr. Karl Menninger, a famous psychiatrist, wrote a book entitled, Whatever Became of Sin? While many people refuse to admit such a thing as sin exists, others boast about their sin, trying to outdo one another in wickedness. Contrite hearts are hearts softened by sorrow over sin. Contrite hearts realize the hurts their sins have caused. Contrite hearts sincerely desire to make right the wrongs and to avoid involvement with evil in the future.
Trembling at His Word. Knowing God's Word. Seeking God's will. Ignoring the cost. Enduring by relying on Christ's strength. Sustained by fervent prayer. So committed to Jesus as Lord that the heart cannot conceive of disobeying.
Queen Esther. Elijah. Deborah. King David. All were leaders, excellent leaders, by God's grace. We need people like them today. Not just pastors and professional church-workers. Not just people over 35 years old. Not just established family men and women. But you. Me. As Mordecai counseled Esther, "And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
The Lord seeks us to be His—through and through, committed completely to Him.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it's easy for us to slide away from full service to You and Your kingdom. Lead us to hear Your Word, tremble at its power, and commit our lives to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman February 1980 issue, "Christ's Leaders are Followers" by Jane Fryar
1. Living as a Christian takes a real commitment. How do you get focused and stay mindful of your relationship to God as you begin your day?
2. Though God created the universe and everything in it, man holds a special place in His heart. Does that impact the way you live for Him?
3. What does it really mean to be humble and contrite before God and others? Would this require a radical adjustment on your part to be this way?
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