Lord, fix my heart on You today. All else changes but You are the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Read Isaiah 42:1-9
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Our model of leadership is often shaped more by culture than by Christ. Yet many cultural models of leadership are incompatible with the servant imagery taught and exhibited by the Lord Jesus” (John Stott).
As I write, a personality from the world of stock car racing has stated that he prefers dictatorship to democracy because dictators “get things done.” When governments are weak and politicians perceived to be self-serving or corrupt, many people long for a leader who will “take charge.” In churches, too, a minister or a group of elders, impatient with the views of those who disagree with them, may project themselves as strong leaders, able to get things done.
God’s agent is not like that! The person Isaiah describes is far from ineffective. On the contrary, he brings “justice to the nations” (1) and “establishes justice on earth” (4). In the words of Graham Kendrick’s fine hymn (“Beauty For Brokenness”) this will include: “Shelter for fragile lives, cures for their ills, / Work for the craftsman, trade for their skills; / Land for the dispossessed, rights for the weak / Voices that plead the cause of those who can’t speak.”
God’s agent will not achieve this by violent revolution, by angry or abusive demonstrations, or manipulative or underhand practices (2). His strength lies in the consciousness of God’s call (6) and in the power of God’s Spirit (1) and, as always, the Spirit is known by his fruit: love, joy, peace, patience and the rest (Gal. 5:22,23).
In the next few weeks Mark will show us the perfect embodiment of such leadership as Jesus goes ahead of his disciples to the cross and challenges the rulers of this world with the claim of God’s kingdom. He certainly “got things done,” but not by self-assertion. Still today, Jesus is looking for shepherds to whom he can entrust his power, women and men who will be passionate for justice, patient in the face of opposition, and confident of God’s call and power.
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Pray for your Christian leaders and government leaders, also.
Father, servant leadership and living is so counter-intuitive I need help to live, serving others first. Thank You for grace and strength.