The real tragedy in Church life is that too few lead, not too many.
Author: Chris Jeffries
The way the Lord is revealing his heart to me, I see that we can all lead and we can all follow. Of course, we have a Leader, the Great Shepherd of the sheep - Yahshua the Messiah who came as a helpless baby and died as a helpless criminal. And in between he taught as a helpless, unauthorised, untrained non-leader.
He wasn't helpless by nature, he chose to be helpless for your sake and for mine. Sometimes (but not often if you scour the gospels to check) he said 'Go here, do this'. But most of the time he said 'There was a woman who lost a coin...', or 'A man was lying by the roadside, left for dead...which of these was his brother?', or 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like...', or he just scribbled in the dust and then said 'Hasn't anyone condemned you? Neither do I'.
I think the key is that he chose to be helpless. And surely we are called to become like him. Take Paul as an example. How did he start out? How did he end up? What made the difference?
Well, you all know the answers of course. But let the facts sink in deeply for a moment. Paul was trained, taught, and qualified. He had met Christ in person on the road, an extraordinary experience that altered his course and his heart. He of all people was marked out as leadership material.
Now read his letters! He had become more like Christ, it's there and plain to see. Yes, sometimes he writes 'Do this, go there, choose that', but mostly his letters are not like that at all. Mainly they are descriptions of love, explanations of salvation, entreaties to gentleness or wisdom or purity. Rarely did he behave like a person who expected to be obeyed or followed or to rule over others.
I believe that we all lead because we all have gifts and fruit, we can all demonstrate Christ's life within us. We are all examples to one another. This is the sense in which there is no male or female, no master or slave, no wise or foolish, there is no room for distinctions of this kind in Heaven.
'In your meetings all may speak, but it must be done decently and in order'.
So if we are all to lead, who is to follow? Why - all of us! Whenever and wherever you see or hear anything good or pure or holy - follow! That's my advice. Whether it comes from a pulpit or from an armchair, from the man who cleans your sink in the office or the lady who's head honcho of your company, from the pen of a mega-preacher or from the keyboard of the lowliest KLDF* member. Let the Holy Spirit within you show you and confirm to you what is good and what is not. Take nobody's word for it but his.
Grow in wisdom and in love and recognise that you are already perfect in the sight of the Most High.
Listen - I will shout this from the rooftops...
YOU ARE ALL ROYALTY, YOU ARE ALL PRIESTS!
The real tragedy in Church life is that too few lead, not too many. And too few follow, not too many. When we ALL lead and ALL follow, maybe we can say we have begun to understand how Christ works in his people. We say 'Christ is in us', but how often do we recognise him in one another? He's there alright - look harder! look deeper!
Here's the mystery. We have only one Leader, yet we are all leaders. How can that be true? It's true because Christ lives in each one.
* KLDF is the Koinonia Life Discussion Forum.