Bible in a Year – Day 230: A Higher Standard
Leadership is a tough thing. Not only do you have to deal with people, but, ultimately, you are held responsible for their actions. This is true even in situations that are out of your control. As a pastor, if someone who is a part of our church is hateful or irresponsible, there will be certain people who will forever associate our church with that kind of behavior. “I knew a guy who went to that church,” they’ll say, “and he didn’t seem very Christ-like to me.” And ultimately, they’ll put the blame on the church leadership.
I know this. Most leaders do. It’s not always fair, though often it is, but either way, it’s the reality. And it was the reality for the leaders of Israel as well. Notice in today’s reading the difference between God’s attitude toward the leaders and his attitude toward everyone else. Sure, seventy years of captivity is bad, but compared to the punishment doled out to the leaders of the nation, those seventy years are a slap on the wrist. Check it out:
“I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.” (Jeremiah 24:9-10)
A byword and a curse. That’s a bad thing to be! But you see, that’s the responsibility of leadership. As the leader, it is your job to follow God and to encourage others to follow you. It’s a huge responsibility and one that every leader should take very seriously. If I’m not walking humbly in God’s grace, always seeking his wisdom and counsel, then I fail as a leader. The moment I begin to rely on myself, I’m off course. That’s a tough pill for “leader-types” to swallow. We’ve been told our whole lives what natural leaders we are, but God calls us to be a follower first.
Fortunately, God does have grace when we screw it up. However, as he proves in Jeremiah and other places in the Bible, his patience eventually wears thin, especially when leaders are openly defiant of him. You might say that God has much more grace for mistakes than he does for defiance. I’m just glad he’s a better leader than I am and I’m reminded almost daily how reliant I am on his leadership.
- TED Talk Tuesday: Who Controls the World?
- TED Talk Tuesday: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
- Bible in a Year – Day 361: Burn, Baby, Burn
- Bible in a Year – Day 349: Values of a Leader
- Bible in a Year – Day 347: One More Time!
- Bible in a Year – Day 339: Boastest with the Mostest
- Bible in a Year – Day 328: Writing to Rome
- Bible in a Year – Day 324: The Mentor
- Bible in a Year – Day 317: Graceful Beginnings
- Bible in a Year – Day 302: Which Yeast?