by Caleb Hancock
In this final installment on Manspeak’s Leadership Devotion Series, it is back to the basics.
As we have looked at the purpose, the power, our precursor, some principles, and the perfecter of biblical Leadership, it is my duty to exhort you, yeah you, reading this and each of the other posts…DON’T STOP! Don’t grow weary in seeking to serve others for the glory of God (the goal of leadership).
Remember Jesus Christ, who did not come to be served, but TO serve, and to become our ransom payment on the cross!
Let this truth motivate you to pursue biblical leadership for the rest of your life! The great news is that your standing before God is not dependent on how well you perform this duty (and it IS a duty). United with Christ though faith, all Christian men will hear the declaration of not guilty! How amazing!
But don’t let this truth (and I don’t believe that the biblical response to the genuine belief of this truth) lead you to laziness. Instead, let us strive forward to lead in a revolutionary way, through service. Let men see our good works and praise our Father in heaven.
Men, it is our responsibility and privilege to be leaders in whatever roles the Lord has for us. I pray that this series has better equipped you in some way to pursue this lifelong goal. I pray that God’s church is filled with men who seek to lead and serve! I pray that you will passionately seek to live for Christ, guided by his word, submitting to the leadership that God has provided for you, and then being ambitious for HIS glory.
by Caleb Hancock
Personify: a verb meaning “to represent a quality by a figure in human form”
If that’s the definition of personification, then it is safe to say that we as men have a model, an ideal, the perfect representation of leadership ever given to men by God…God himself, Jesus Christ.
Let me be clear on the purpose of this series on leadership. My goal is NOT that you would look to me, or a pastor, or your dad, or whomever, as your ideal picture of the ideal, biblical leader. Should we seek to learn from and be taught by others’ examples…absolutely. (Hebrews 13:7)
But, we just can’t hope to find the perfect example of leadership in human form, the personification of it, apart from Christ.
With that caveat in mind, let’s look at Jesus’ leadership.
How did Jesus lead? Through service. I could write on any number of biblical examples of this, but one in particular stuck out to me as a prime example of Jesus’ brand of leadership.
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
So, guys…are you ready to lead if that means leading the troops into battle? Or the civil disobedience club at school? Or your sports team to compete and be victorious? Ok.
But are you ready to lead by humbling yourself and putting other’s interests before your own? To lay down your time, giftings, preferences, and even life for those that you lead? Are you ready to stand for the truth of God’s word and testimony in the face of fierce opposition? Are you ready to put to death the misdeeds of the body, through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, even when no one is watching? Are you ready to fight the fear of man and preach the good news of the gospel of Christ? This was Jesus example, and he clearly says, “Follow me.” (Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, etc.)
Men, let’s not forget that the reason that we drop the attitudes of apathy, the indulgence of our sinful nature, and the selfish ambition that once ruled and drove us, is that there is a better treasure, one of greatest price. It is worth selling all else that we have, in joy, to have this treasure…Jesus! He gave his righteous standing to you through faith, took on and exhausted the Righteous Wrath that your sins deserved, and now calls you to live a life that was radically different than the one that you once walked in, one that he lived perfectly.
Hebrews 12 puts it this way…
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Guys, we have a Savior, an example, and a high-priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses (laziness, selfishness, pride) for he was tempted in every way that we are, yet he never sinned! His life’s ministry and work on the cross atones for your sin, credits you with free-righteousness, and now calls you to lead through service.
Let’s follow the example that he set for us, because of the ransom that he made for us, so that we might glorify his name through His work in us.
by Caleb Hancock
Guys, God does not want mere obedience.
If we serve others, and lead others to serve with us, and do it for God’s honor, and yet we do it without joy…we are wrong!
Deuteronomy 28:45 “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. 46 They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,”
Now, I submit that although this message was (in its historical context) addressed to Israel, every word of scripture is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and was written for our instruction. (Romans 15:4)
Therefore, in light of this truth, we should take this passage in Deuteronomy to heart. God was warning his people that they should serve him…with joy! So, as we lead others, we should be joyful!
Men, do you regularly seek to serve others, leading conversations to draw people out and point out God’s grace? Do you seek to serve others practically motivated by the mere fact that you should?
Let’s not spurn God. He doesn’t want simply sacrifices and outward obedience, but heartfelt desire and motivation to serve others joyfully.
And let’s get this straight too. I know that you can hear an exhortation and feel even more condemned. “Golly, not only have I been having to fight to want to serve people in the first place, but now I see that to even come at it from this angle could be sinful! How can I change?”
If this is the thought in your mind, take heart. The obedience and attitudes that God requires, he supplies. Ultimately, your standing before God, your righteousness is only in Christ’s propitionary sacrifice and righteousness imputed to you. And God through scripture exhorts us to be filled with His Spirit, renewed in our minds by His word, and motivated to serve others in that even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many (including you and me!)
Points of Application:
- Do you view service as a “grit your teeth and bear it” event? May it never be! Ask forgiveness from God and be motivated by his unmerited favor in Christ to serve others with joy!
- Ask others, maybe your roommate, accountability partner, or spouse if they knew that you would not react in sinful anger, how would they answer this question: “Do I serve others joyfully, not under compulsion?”
- Reflect on the gospel daily, and seek to lay down your life in servant-leadership in your family, relationships and church.
by Caleb Hancock
As we proceed with the last 4 posts in this series, I thought it would be good to give you guys a double dose of leadership training today.
First off, biblical leadership is not an attitude of demanding or insisting on its own way. Rather, some of the greatest leaders I know love to and are great at supporting the leadership of others. They recognize their limitations, as well as the giftings of others, and position those folks in ways that they can serve best (even if it means that person leading an event or ministry that they themselves could have led)
This also means that you prop up the leaders that God has placed into your life. You support and follow their leadership. This is not degrading, but rather freeing!
1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
As for the second part of our dual-header today, let’s look at the biblical instruction that Paul gives Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-2
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
A good leader not only lives his life under the sovereign hand of God, seeking to serve those around him until he dies, but he also leads others to do the same.
While probably only 1% of the readers of this post are pastors like Timothy to whom these verses were originally addressed, the other 99% of us can benefit from Paul’s wisdom here as well.
Men, we should be training up others, (faithful and teachable men) to replace our positions of leadership. How sad for a business or ministry or church to suffer because we neglected to train others up to replace us!
Let’s face it, each of us IS replaceable! Let’s apply this wisdom and seek to faithfully pass the baton of leadership to the guys who will be warming your chair when you are done and gone.
Questions for Application:
- While a leader, are you hard to lead? Do you regularly encourage and welcome the leadership that God has placed in your life? If not, seek to change!
- Are you inviting others around you to serve alongside you?
- Are you aware that you are replaceable? Are you seeking to set up your predecessor for success?
Men, let’s lead to serve. Let’s submit joyfully to the leadership over us. And let’s seek faithfully to relay the leadership responsibilities that we have to other faithful men that follow!
by Caleb Hancock
Nehemiah continues to be the object of our focus as we look at more aspects of biblical leadership.
As Nehemiah lead the Israelites to repair the wall around the city, they faced fierce opposition from their neighbors. Rumors, gossip, slander and threats abounded against Nehemiah and the people, but they, under Nehemiah’s leadership continued to work.
Nehemiah 4 recounts the whole story.
What are we to learn here from Nehemiah’s example?
Two chief principles emerge.
One, use the provision and wisdom that God has given to complete the tasks that are before you. Work Hard! We often think that, since God has saved us and his Sovereign hand is on our lives, we need not pursue great things for him, but can rest on our laurels. But scripture commends again and again, for us to strive after the goal of holiness, to not be unaware of our enemy who prowls about like a lion looking for someone to devour. There is work to be done, and God has called us to do it in strength and wisdom!
Two, we CAN ultimately trust and rest in the Lord as we work hard to glorify him in our lives.
He encourages the workers,
“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
“…Our God will fight for us.”
Points of Application:
- While salvation belongs to the Lord, we should be wise and discerning in how we use the resources (time, money, strength) that he has provided us in order to carry out his will for us (the pursuit of holiness).
- TRUST in the Lord! He is mighty and WILL be faithful to his children!
by Caleb Hancock
To be a good leader doesn’t just mean that you can make split-second decisions, or that you make wise, thought out ones either. At least, that’s not all it entails.
Certainly, last week we looked at two aspects of Adam’s failed leadership in not protecting and correcting his wife, as well as his (and our) all too familiar reaction to sin by blaming others. Well this week, let’s take a look at another aspect of leadership from another biblical example.
Take a minute before reading on (if you really want to benefit yourself) and read the passage here.
Nehemiah was an Israelite in captivity under a foreign nation. He was grieved to hear about the state of his conquered hometown and received (miraculously) permission from the ruling king to go and rebuild it.
It would be all to easy to see how Nehemiah could easily have taken off in hurried excitement in order to get back to Jerusalem ASAP. However, we see an aspect of the spiritual gift of leadership at work in the following way. Nehemiah took time (v.6) to think out exactly what would be needed to successfully complete his task BEFORE he began it. He not only received permission to do his task, he got letters to prove this, to allow him safe passage, and even written orders that all of his supplies be furnished.
Men, if we want to lead well, and follow Nehemiah’s example, let’s not rush about willy-nilly seeking to begin growing and leading in every sphere around us. Rather, let us think through where the Lord has placed us, how we can lead effectively, and take the time to think through the details.
Points of Application:
- Are you prone to start many projects at once and lax to finish them? Take this post as a loving exhortation to change, in order that you might better serve those that you lead.
- Do you schedule and prioritize your time on a regular basis? (Thinking through your roles, and coming up with specific goals to accomplish that week in each) Doing so will only benefit you and those you serve.
- See that, no matter where you are, even if you’re merely a cup-bearer, the Lord would have you be faithful even in the small tasks that you are responsible for, in order that her might mold you into a leader that can rebuild a city (or lead/serve on a particular ministry team, prepare for and lead a wife, raise and lead a family, etc.)
by Caleb Hancock
After discussing the purpose, possibility, and power to lead in a God-honoring way, I thought that it would be helpful to take the next few weeks and see biblical examples of leadership, both good and bad.
This week, let’s take a look at our ancient (and I mean a way long time ago!) relative: Adam.
Genesis 3 gives the whole account. Take a moment to read through this, recognizing that this isn’t a myth, but is an actual account of what transpired.
There were two specific points that we need to look at.
First, in verse 6, we see that Eve took the fruit, ate some, and then gave it to her husband, Adam.
So…what’s the big deal, right? How does this have anything to do with leadership?
Well, it is the vacuum left by the absence of Adam’s leadership that should draw our attention. Here he is, apparently observing his wife do exactly what God had instructed them not to do (Gen. 2:17, and 3:2), and yet he is sitting on the sidelines, merely observing.
If Adam was to be the head of his wife, if his heart was to lead her in a way that honored God, would that not have mandated that he warn his wife and put himself between her and the object of her sinful desire? That he plead with her not to sin and do everything in his power to protect her from Satan’s influence? But did he do that? No. He watched, and then, to seal the deal, ate the fruit along with her when she gave it to him.
Let’s continue on in Genesis 3 and note another incidence of Adam’s leadership.
We find in the next few verses, after Adam and Eve are aware of their nakedness and have hidden from God in the garden, when God finds them, he asks them how it is that they have become aware of this.
Many of you can see it coming.
It’s like watching a horror movie unfold before you on your TV screen and no matter how much you yell at it and beg the main character to not go into the dark basement alone, they do it anyway! It is a similar story here with Adam.
After God questions him, what is his first response? BLAME! He blames his wife! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Men, if we are to be God-fearing leaders, we must recognize that failure in our lives is not due to others’ failures, but our own. Unless we see our need for help, we will never receive it. Adam, and the rest of us who have inherited his nature (that’s everybody, for those of you keeping track), are infused with pride. We are quick to take credit for success, but even quicker to pass the buck for failure. If we are to be biblical leaders, it must not be so.
Thankfully, guys, although God IS opposed (actively) to the proud, he gives grace to the humble. So, we can expect that as we humble ourselves before Him and others when we fail, we will receive grace! This is what godly leadership looks like.
Aren’t you thankful that, although death came to all men through the one man’s (Adam’s) sin, and then death came to all of us, because we all have sinned (Romans 5:12), the story doesn’t end at Genesis 3:12?!
Rather, all of scripture, and all of history, point to the fact that God has had mercy on sinners who turn from their sins and trust in His Son, the Saviour, the Lamb of God who takes away sins through his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross in our place. Men, although like our precursor, we have all sinned, there is hope in Christ for all who are united to Him through faith.
We are not left to remain as proud, lazy, blame-shifting wimps, but are called to, out of joy in our salvation, lay down our lives to serve others by pointing them to the gospel of Jesus with our lives and mouths.
Points of Application:
- Pray that God would give you a cross-centered view of life, that you would be filled with hope knowing that, if you have repented and turned in faith to Christ, God has washed away every sin!
- Lead others with your example to fear God, to not indulge sinful desires, but to walk in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4)
- If you are aware of folks who are currently involved in active sin, plead with them to fear God and repent and turn to Christ
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”
- When things fail, and they will, humbly accept responsibility where appropriate, confess any sin, and seek to walk in holiness and honor.