Two reflective thoughts on Christian leadership (based on studying 2 Chronicles for a sermon series)
Over the past few months I have been studying through 2 Chronicles for a current sermon series on this part of Israel's history and how it applies to our CPC in The Hill congregation. Here are two thoughts--my former Prairie Bible College students would have called them "Chip's stream of consciousness."
Reflecting on the events and personalities in 2 Chronicles 10-12 has lead me to consider the problem of leadership--once again. I contend the spiritually mature is reluctant to take up the mantle of leadership, for she or he knows that stepping into such a role will challenge his or her own humanity and will face the massive temptation to deny, redefine, or hinder the humanity of others. The truly spiritually mature is hesitant in taking a leadership status for there will be great temptation to enjoy, and then to crave, the idolatrous power that so naturally attaches to and is granted to leaders. The platform for Christian leadership is fraught with danger, idolatrous infirmities, and is a dark place, full of terrors (as a Game of Throne's character would say about the night).
Seems many believe that the goal of the strong (well at least those who consider themselves strong) is to help critique and then change the weak into the strong; whereas, the way of God in this world (as far as I can see in the Scriptures) completely turns our cultural attitude about strength (i.e., the strong) and the contempt for weakness (i.e., the weak) on its head, that is, the strong (who are only so by God’s grace and nothing in and of themselves) are to carrier, advocate for, and serve the weaker. Those privileged with some measure and gift (for all things are given, there is nothing that hasn't been received as gift, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:7) of strength (be it wealth, health, physical strength, clarity of mind, talent, or even the immediate amenities needed or desired for life), you have the gift in order to expend it on others, especially those who are weak (be it the lack of wealth, health, physical strength, clarity of mind, talent, or even the immediate amenities needed for life). This is the way and mind of the One we are called to follow, the One who had it all and left it all to become a servant, even a servant to the point of death on a cross (e.g., Philippians 2:5-11).
*A side note, since I am also studying 1 Corinthians as well: It is interesting to note this also seems to be the issue at the table in 1 Corinthians 10-14.
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.