Leaders face many tests from the critics.
Once again we find Jesus facing a hostile group out to disprove him and his leadership. Jesus will face many more tests over the course of his ministry. You will face tests in the midst of your attempts to lead.
Leaders must have a call. Note what Paul tells us in Romans 1.6-7.
“And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.”
Has God called you to be a leader? You may not think so but the Bible would suggest otherwise. Each one of us are called. At the very least you are called to belong to Christ, receive salvation, move out of darkness, and called to make disciples. This is leadership.
You won’t fully embrace your call to lead until you realize you are called by God to follow.
Leaders must have conviction. Belief that what you are doing matters and makes a difference. Otherwise, why lead? Why endure all the naysayers who question you, unless you have a message?
Leaders must have compassion. Note that Jesus bring healing to the paralyzed man. He was not simply interested in proving himself. It was his compassionate move that settled the argument.
Verse 26 tells us that the former critics were seized with amazement. “We have seen extraordinary things today.” They said.
Leaders amaze their critics by following their conviction to lead in the midst of criticism.
What has God called you toward?
What extraordinary things does God want to do through you today?
As a leader you want people to follow you. It’s been said, “If you’re leading a group and no one is following you, you’re simply taking a walk.”
Great crowds gathered to hear Jesus speak. Additionally, the people came in from far away places to hear him. News about Jesus was spreading.
Who doesn’t want a great crowd? As leaders we all want to have more influence. Note a few things about these two verses.
- Jesus puts action to his message. He doesn’t just talk about healing but he does it. People want to ‘see’ the vision, not just hear about it. It’s called vision for a reason.
- The healed man spreads the word about Jesus. Do right by people and they will tell their friends. Use your gifts and people will want to hear more and share it.
- The writer, Luke, places Jesus’ preaching ministry ahead of his healing ministry. “…great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed…” Actions support the message, not the other way around.
- Jesus took time alone. He needed time to recharge and be refreshed. We all do.
- He prayed.
No one had more mission to accomplish than Jesus. He set out to bring salvation to the entire world. Yet there were times when he had to be alone and pray.
Make sure, you as a leader, do the same. Doing so ultimately helps those you are serving.
Which of the five things mentioned above do you struggle with the most?
How are you at taking time to be alone and pray?
Your vision is never YOUR vision. As leaders we must come to grips with the idea that what we hold in our hands is a result of generations prior to us. We were simply chosen to deliver what has been years in the making.
77 generations are listed in the lineage of Jesus. I find that number quite interesting as the number seven is the number of perfection. At exactly the right moment and with deliberate perfection on the part of God, Jesus comes.
Your leadership is not an accident. You were placed here at this precise time for a specific task. Your gifts and abilities are meant to take all that has preceded you and bring it about.
I find it compelling that Luke took several verses to list the 77 generations. Without a doubt he lists them to send a message to the reader. You are not alone in your leadership. Your vision has many supporters. Allow this truth to give you confidence as you deliver the vision.
The making of your leadership and vision has gone through years of refining, now bringing you to this point in history. You don’t walk alone. Each prior generation contributed to your leadership and purpose.
This doesn’t stop with you. You are to now bring courage to future generations. God wishes to birth something in you that will restore hope, meaning and value to others.
Your birth circumstances and position in life are not accidents. God has chosen you for this time.
What other reasons do you think Luke has for including the previous generations?
How does knowing you’re not alone give you confidence?
Vision is much like that of a relay race. The message is carefully passed on from one runner to the next. The key is keeping pace with God and not dropping it.
John, now in prison, passes the baton on to Jesus for the next leg of the race. Later He will pass it on to the disciples who will pass it on, ultimately being passed on to you. Our responsibility is to carefully steward the vision and then joyfully pass it on to the next group.
Too many leaders hold on to the vision too long. Whether out of insecurity or ego they keep the vision to themselves. We do well to remember that we are a fraction of hope to others. This is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ operating in harmony.
Jesus, now ready to run with the baton, is sent by God racing around the track. He will round the corner, doing his part, the whole time looking for the next runner. This perspective gives us the courage to run, knowing that we are chosen by God and he is pleased with our strides.
Several have run before Jesus received the baton. Remember back to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, Anna, and Simeon, to name a few. All carriers.
Have you come to understand your part in the leadership journey?
Who are you looking to hand the baton of leadership too?
A leader’s aim is to deliver vision that brings good news to people. The motive behind the vision should always be to benefit the lives of others. Anything less than this only serves the selfish ambition of the individual sharing vision.
Leaders also realize that in the midst of sharing the good news, there will be some who will oppose you on what you bring. Some will not understand and others will not want to understand. They choose to ignore your vision because it wreaks damage to theirs.
As a result of you being led by God to bring hope you now find yourself locked away. Perhaps not physically as John was but you find yourself having encountered a roadblock to getting the message out to others.
Your voice to many has been silenced by a few.
Your stance against the atrocities of others has put you behind bars, so to speak. You find yourself unable to move, leaving you in a prison of self doubt. Did God really speak to me? Where did I go wrong? Why is this happening to me?
Your influence has been severely diminished.
Perhaps the lesson from these two verse is found in realizing that we only play a small part of the overall vision. John got the message out. His role was coming to an end. As leaders we do well to understand that we have just a piece of the message.
Have you ever felt locked up, unable to adequately bring forth the entire vision? What did that feel like?
How does knowing that we have only a piece of the message encourage us in our walk?
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Grab your favorite cup of holiday cocoa, sit in your favorite chair, and push play.
You are about to hear the Christmas story in a way you’ll never forget…trust me.
A bit unique from the version you’re used to seeing. I thoroughly love how the story of a child is portrayed through the eyes of a child.
Perhaps this is what Christmas is all about. Taking the one story of Christ’s birth and presenting it is a unique way to others.
Who will you share the story of Christmas with this year?
How will this Christmas be unique from others?
The Waiting Period
Zechariah sees an angel while serving in the temple and hears a message that will leave an eternal impact on people.He is unable to speak, when he finally makes his way out of the temple.
Every vision from God has a waiting period. The period between obtaining the vision and the time to speak it. In this case it was nine months. The message her is that God get us pregnant with vision that is to be birthed at the right time. We see this exemplified when Zechariah attempts to communicate the vision but is unable. It’s not time.
Everyone returns home and Elizabeth becomes pregnant. Zechariah sees and hears the vision but Elizabeth carries it. Don’t miss this point. There are times when God breathes a message to us, but another will deliver the message. I believe this is so no one can claim all the credit, but God gets the glory.
For the first five months Elizabeth stays in the house (verse 24) and Zechariah in unable to speak. This would no doubt make for an interesting home life! Carrying the vision is at times uncomfortable and a bit awkward.
Too often the mistake a young leader will make is receiving a vision or idea only to immediately speak it out. The vision is right, it’s just not the right time. Sometimes we must hide it from others for a period of time. This allows for preparation, passion and personal development in the life of the one to speak and deliver the vision.
There are times when the vision is delayed (Habakkuk 2.3a). Always for a greater purpose and impact.
Has God given you a vision? Does it seem like it’s taking a long time to come about? What is he wanting to do in you during the waiting period?
You may not be able to carry the vision, but God wants you to name it. This truth is coming in a later post. Watch for it.