Great God in Heaven, help me to walk worthy of the calling you have placed in my life. “Make your calling and election sure,” you have said in your Word; with your constant help and guidance, I will do that.
A man or a woman must tremble at the responsibility of leadership. When the precious souls of God’s heritage sit to listen and receive wisdom at the mouth of one in leadership, that leader must hold the assignment as a fragile and breakable treasure; nearly buckled over with its weightiness. As our great Apostle Peter admonishes:
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (I Peter 5:1-7)
The buckling comes from the weight of the mighty hand of God and the revelation of responsibility that lies upon the bearer of the assignment; for God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. The Word delivered with overmuch focus on the intent of the messenger not humbled and pressed over by the mighty hand of God becomes a weapon instead of food for salvation. Indeed, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God and those in leadership, given so very much, can easily swoon under the load; especially if they be those given to appetite and the desire for wealth.
God is no respecter of persons. It makes no difference how long or how glorious a ministry. God will make us humble before him one way or another. Enter Nebuchadnezzar. Seven years he wandered mad in the field before his eyes looked up and his reason returned. That story is in the bible for a reason; a warning to all who would assume the lordship over God’s heritage whether by purposeful intent or by willful ignorance. How very circumspect must be our steps in this life, and all the more for those in authorities.
Peter continues now:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 5:8-11)
Clearly, the God-ordained humility and careful administration of his Word serves as a shield against the wiles of the devil for faith comes by hearing and the shield of faith is that which quenches the fiery darts of darkness hurled against God’s heritage each and every day. Because of the roaring lion, because of the fiery darts, because of the daily battle, men and women of God, called to carry the precious Word to the minds and hearts of precious souls must live blameless lives flung far above the fray that shine as a beacon to the lost and found alike. When they look up, they must see us standing strong for the right. This charge is a weighty one and leaves no room for error lest even one soul stumbles and is lost because of a carnal fault, a love of money, a careless bitterness, a thoughtless gesture, a selfish intent perceived or real in the lives of leaders. One backslider over coffee shared the deepest hurt he ever felt; the pastor never called to see how they were, or where they were. They simply fell away unloved and unnoticed by the leader they had trusted. How shameful a report; it broke my heart.
If people make you mad, if their simple and stubborn ways insert bitterness into your spirit, if you feel disgust and easy anger dogs your trail, please, please, please do not minister until those personal flaws are wept into the dust. Souls are to follow leaders as those leaders follow Jesus. Jesus loves people. The only anger he ever displayed was over the love of money he saw in the temple. He loves people. If a man or a woman of God does not love people, they are no longer fit to lead. If a man or a woman of God abuses the authority given by God, or uses the tender sacrifices of God’s people for personal gain, it is time for that leader to fall down in repentance and let another come to protect the flock of God.
I have actually discerned an open invitation to Satan issued unintentionally by a minister drunk on his own power. A heavy and thick darkness swept in on the wings of a mocking glee as repeated reference to the things done in darkness fell from the lips of a leader stripped clean of anointing. Righteous indignation and a warlike spirit gripped me as I rose to fight only to realize the enemy was invited by the words, not of God but of man. What causalities were recorded in hell that day? Which unsuspecting souls were tricked in those few moments and stumbled in their forward progress? Just how much was devoured by the wicked one while we sat unarmed and vulnerable? How tragic.
In closing this writer and saint exhorts any who read these words to heed the warning. If we are called to minister to God’s heritage, we must come trembling and humble at the weightiness of it all. All selfish ambitions and desire for personal gain must be ground into the dust of our brokenness in prayer. Deep and sincere soul searching will prove our love for souls alive and well, or frozen over with bitterness and disgust. Please pray a foot of pride does not rise up against you. Please pray God-sent deception will never come your way. Please repent for the love of money that is the root of all evil. Please remove yourself from the assignment if you find yourself wanting lest God, himself, removes you; for the salvation of precious souls hangs in the balance.