2000-01-20 - Accountability & Authority
The Leadership Series, Part 1
John 17:11-13 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (NAS)
A lot of times, people have the impression that being in a position of leadership means that you get to make the important decisions and pick the things you want to do. There is some truth in that, but not nearly as much as you might think. Leadership also means making unpopular decisions that have a long term goal in mind. It means working over the weekend to finish personnel reviews so your subordinates get their raises. It means going to meetings and being accountable to managers above you for the actions of those employees. Even when their actions are not acceptable to you, you are responsible. It means dealing with that difficult person who has caused a problem between himself and another group.
With the authority that comes with a position, there are responsibilities. The further up you go, the more and more accountable you are to more and more people. In business, the Chairmen of the Board of the largest companies are still accountable to the shareholders.
John 18:8-9 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; if therefore you seek Me, let these go their way," 9 that the word might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom Thou hast given Me I lost not one." (NAS)
Jesus made Himself accountable to the Father. Jesus prayed for guidance and strength from the Father. In the selected passage from John 17 above, He returns the disciples to the care of the Father. He accounts for them all, even Judas Iscariot. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked that if there were any other way possible, other than the terrible trial He would face on the cross, to make that available to Him. But even He who called, taught and led the disciples, submitted His will to the Father's requirements, for their benefit and ours. He didn't have to suffer the agony on the cross, or the moment in time when Jesus was separated from the Father. It was the first time in all eternity they had been apart, which may have been the greater trial. Just like the old song goes, "He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set Him free." He stayed true to the plan made in eternity past between the members of the Trinity, to save mankind. Personal accountability to hundreds of prophetic tasks, and the sacrifice of personal time to be with the people teaching and healing and His students, left Jesus' with little time for Himself.
Were there moments of powerful confrontation where the established authorities were confounded and shown for the hypocrites that they were? Yes, of course. Were there moments of triumph when Jesus showed a flashing glimpse of His power? Lazarus climbed out of the tomb bound hand and foot in grave clothes at Jesus verbal command. Jairus' daughter was called from death at the gentle instruction of the Master. To see his friend restored to family and friends, and a child restored to thrilled and grateful parents must have been very satisfying. To see the response of the people accepting Him for who He said He was, people moving from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light, must have been cause for great joy. And still these times came with a price. If it is the will of God that everyone be saved, then to have even the Pharisees reject such evident displays of power, when they were seeking a visible sign, must have been sadly frustrating. Knowing they sought His life instead of acknowledging the sign that they were seeking before them, that there was still no room to talk must have been painful.
Being a leader often means going it alone for a time. You have a conviction that more time needs to be spent in prayer by your group at church. People's schedules being what they are makes this unpopular with some and simply impossible for others. If you are committed to this course of action, simply make it known that you will be there 30 minutes early and anyone is welcome to join you. You may be the only one there early for a month. If you skip once, your ability to sell your conviction of the importance of that time will be tarnished. Remain faithful to the call of God and watch what happens over time. This simple act of faith may be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.
Luke 19:16-17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.' (NAS)
Lord Jesus - we long for the spotlight and for the glory - knowing full well it will be Yours all along. The victories are as fleeting as Paul's laurel wreath given to the winner of a race. If we run the race for You, and learn patience and to listen for Your leading, we will be seen as faithful and having the qualities of a leader. But this will happen only if we are willing to serve others in the process of serving You. Amen.
Grace & Peace,