LIFESTYLE LEADERSHIP: Difficulties and Resolution

LIFESTYLE LEADERSHIP: Difficulties and Resolution
MAXWELL FRATT

You have been chosen to lead. You have prayed about the calling and are doing all possible to be in the Will of God. Yet, you find the going tough, difficulties arise and problems abound. The problems always seem to fall into two categories – problems in our personal lives and witness and problems or friction in the group.

God, in His Holy Scriptures gives us many “case histories” of leaders who became embroiled in difficulties and problems. We have reviewed many of these leaders in this study, but not in relation to the problems that they faced.

Moses was the first leader that we began with, and we now are able to use Moses as our example of how problems come about and how they can be handled in the manner God would desire. Moses got himself into a situation because he acted in much the same way that we seem to operate. Moses came to believe that he alone was capable of leading the nation of Israel. Today, we have many people who have the motto “If you want a job done right, then you have got to do it yourself!”

All that we read about Moses shows us that he was involved in the lives of his charges – the children of Israel. This very strength became his weakness.

Turn to Exodus 18:13. Can you picture the situation? Moses was spending the entire day helping the very people who had tried to kill him by stoning. Moses was taking all this time to help these people.  It is easy to assist those you like and are nice to you, but to take this time to help people who have tried to do you wrong?! People who were hateful? Who did not appreciate Moses or his efforts? But Moses was doing all things “as unto God” and was demonstrating qualities of God.

Now, in Exodus 18:14, we find the father-in-law, Jethro, observing Moses and his “waste of time” and questioning Moses as to why. In the next two verses, Moses gives rational reasons. Jethro
then gives advice, unsolicited, to Moses in the next five verses.

As we covered in our first session, we now take another look at the matter. Moses did not “pull rank” or tell Jethro to keep his opinions to himself. Moses, being a servant of God, listened to the
advice and adopted the counsel. Why? Let’s take a close look at the advice and counsel.

Moses’ first function as a leader was to pray for the people placed under his charge. Paul confirms this advice in Colossians 4:12 when he makes the statement: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in the will of God.” We need to pray for each person God places in our path – BY NAME. In our jobs, we need to pray for each person that reports to us, and that we report to – BY NAME.

Moses was to teach the Word of God. Our people given to us to lead cannot DO truth if they don’t KNOW the Truth.

Moses was to be SEEN by the people. We, as leaders must tell our people WHAT, tell them WHY, and show them HOW. Our LIFESTYLE must be one of showing them how to walk with God and how to work for God.  People don’t learn from lectures and sermons, alone. The lectures and sermons MUST be accompanied by LIFESTYLE. Those given to us need a pattern to follow, and WE are to be that example.

Moses was to delegate his responsibilities. Moses was trying to do it all by himself. He was doing all the governmental functions, spiritual functions, and social functions by himself. Jethro tells
Moses to “share the load” with hand picked people. These selected few would have to have spiritual depth, have a close relationship with God and with the world around them. I’m sure that Moses knew that it was imperative that the choice was of Godly leaders. It is easier to get a person into a position than to get them out of it. When we have the right people in the right place, we are able to break down the functions of any job into smaller, more manageable sections.

CO-LABORERS

We, as leaders must be cognizant of the FACT that those appointed under us are in fact future leaders. By our actions or lack of action, we direct these charges into the path that they, too, will be
leaders of their own flock. Several Scriptures give us the required qualities of these future leaders:

LIKE-MINDEDNESS

“For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil 2:20-21). A leader must have co-workers that can see
the leader’s vision and share the leader’s goals and objectives. But it goes beyond JUST sharing. The co-workers should have the ability to adopt the leader’s goals as their own goals, the leaders vision as their own vision. The leader, then, must be prepared to allow the co-worker to carry out these goal and visions in their own way. The leader needs full agreement on the goals. The leader needs to be flexible and allow latitude to the co-workers on the methods and means to accomplish the goal.

A prime example of similar goals and totally different methods can be found in the two men of God, Ezra and Nehemiah. Each was commanded of God to rebuild Jerusalem. Turn to Ezra 8:21-23. Now turn to Nehemiah 2:7-9. See the difference?! Another striking difference was in the way that sin in the body was handled. Read Ezra 9:3. Now read Nehemiah 13:21, 25. Now, the same God commanded each of these men to rebuild the city, and each did it in exact opposite to the other. Does this mean that one of the men was wrong? NO, it only means that God dealt with each man differently, but accomplished the Will of the Living God.

FAITHFULNESS

“A faithful man, who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6). A co-worker must be faithful, but such a person is so rare that the Scriptures ask the above question. We make the statement and cry that today’s age is not one for finding faithful people of any nature. Psalms 12:1 tell us “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fall from among the children of men.”

Solomon tells the leader to wait for this faithful person. Psalm 25:19 states “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.”

Jesus taught that a leader starts a co-worker out in small task.  “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke
16:10). A co-worker that cannot carry out the small assignments and places IMPORTANCE on any function as being different that any other function will fail at larger assignments. Take notice on those who set up tables or greet people at a function. If their heart is not into these task, they will certainly not be in running the function.

Jesus also taught that co-workers must be FAITHFUL IN WORKING WITH OTHERS. “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is of your own?” (Luke 16:12). Jesus clearly wants each of us to know that BEFORE He will give us responsibility of our own, we need to demonstrate that we can work with others and assist them with their responsibilities.

If you really look at it, this is why there is so much room at the top. No one, it seems, wants to “pay the dues” to be entrusted with the top. Think of Joshua or Elisha – both of these men were
servants of another called of God, until that person was called home.  THEN God chose these two to lead at the top. So few people, today, are willing to commit to the life and schedule and responsibility of another. Until that happens, God waits to give us greater responsibility.

INFORMATION UNLIMITED

In Acts, we are told that Moses made the mistake of assuming.  “For he supposed his brothers would have understood” (Acts 7:25).  They didn’t and Moses had a problem brewing. Disaster is the result of assumptions. A leader, by LIFESTYLE, will make communication a priority. We discussed this last session, but this is of such importance that we are looking deeper into this area of leadership.  Scripture, again, provides a perfect example of lack of communication.  Turn to Joshua 21:43 / 22:10-12. The resolution of this near disaster is found in verses 26 and 27. The matter dropped (verse 30).

A pattern develops – quick suspicion leading to incorrect accusations. Anger developed which led to division, which almost led to war! A leader must always be on the alert for the attack of Satan
in causing division. The leader must KNOW that Satan must disable the work of Christians, and this finds its best avenue through lack of communicating the activity of the group to the whole group. The leader must share the actions and thoughts for accomplishing goals if the co-worker is to adopt the goals as his own. Leaders must make personal reports to the co-workers.

Leaders must be even-handed in administration and coordination of the co-workers. No job is to be slighted at the expense of another job, which may be more unpleasant. We see fund drives rolling without regard to evangelism; or we see strong evangelism efforts without discipleship being considered. Imbalance of this nature occurs when the leader focuses on those tasks that he enjoys and neglects those that take more time or are less enjoyable. The leader must take the whole job and consider each part important – the bitter with the sweet. More than this, the leader must be of a willing heart to adopt this attitude, not out of resignation, but out of joy and thanksgiving unto the Lord.

PERSONAL PROBLEMS

Paul states that tribulation is our glory! “And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope
maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).  Leadership does not remove the leader from trials and tribulations.

Leaders have been known to have arguments with their wife, have financial difficulties, fall ill – in short – have the storms of life afflict the leader! Heartache, tension and confusion are not removed from the leader – JUST because of the leadership.

“How can any sane person GLORY in tribulation?” The word TRIBULATION is derived from the term used to describe the tool used by harvesters to thresh the wheat to separate the wheat from the chaff.  The TRIBULUM was chosen for this term and gives us a clue as to why Paul and other writers tell us that we can GLORY in tribulation.

(James 1:2-4 and I Peter 4:12). I ALWAYS have joy when I “get out of the pit” – Not when I fall into it! Paul and these verses tell us that God uses these attacks of the Evil one to build our character in Christ. Endurance is manifested through these tribulations.

Leadership does not exist without endurance, and God uses tribulation to instill endurance into a leader.

God is greatly more concerned for our completeness in Christ than our comfort in the world. God desires that many aspects of the life of Christ be manifested through us. Paul and Silas sang in prison.  God used that adversity to bring glory to the Kingdom of Christ. Paul and Silas had been deprived of their civil rights and unjustly imprisoned. They COULD have become bitter, but in light of the cross of Jesus, they expressed the Joy and Peace that passes all understanding.

Let’s read Isaiah 55:8-9. God has His ways and His timetable and His reasons for the ETERNAL picture and result. Paul was threatened with death in Antioch and Iconium and left for dead in the town of Lystra. Turn to II Timothy 3:10-11. Paul states that God delivered him from all THREE matters! You see, God chose to deliver Paul twice FROM the stones, and then elected to deliver Paul ONCE THROUGH the stones! We need not speculate on which method Paul preferred! Paul concludes with verse 4:18.

We need to be reminded that Jesus is to bear our burdens. We cannot share them, they must be cast upon Him or we must bear them. If we bear them, we will have sleepless nights and tension filled days. We are entrusted of God to do His will. He has guaranteed that HE is responsible and will fulfill our needs. HE IS ABLE. We are only vessels He has chose to pour forth His glory THROUGH. Allow Him to pass through, and we find ourselves used for His glory beyond our thoughts. We find His Ways to be far better that we could have ever thought possible. We need to express in our LIFESTYLE as John the Baptist. “I must DECREASE while He INCREASES.”

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