Saturday, February 13, 2010


Matthew 20 The Lord’s Type of Leadership


17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,

18 "See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death

19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.

21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."

23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

An Australian Epic Matthew Flinders
This is the birthday No name in our annals shines with as rich a lustre as that ofof Matthew Flinders.. Flinders stands as a brave Homeric figure against the empty skyline of a newly-discovered continent. As Prof. Ernest Scott has eloquently pointed out, there never was, until Flinders applied himself to the task, any deliberately planned, systematic, persistent exploration of any portion of the Australian coast. "The continent," Prof. Scott says, "grew on the map of the world gradually, slowly, almost accidentally. It emerged out of the unknown, like some vast mythical monster heaving its large shoulders, dank and dripping, from the unfathomable sea and was metamorphosed by a kiss from the lips of knowledge into a being fair to look upon and rich in kindly favours." It was Flinders who laid his vigorous and practical hand upon the misty and nebulous realm that was just emerging from primeval chaos. He transformed it into an actual geographical quantity and gave it status and recognition. Indeed it was he who, brushing aside the old unsatisfactory designation of New Holland, gave to the new continent a name, inscribing the word Australia in bold capitals across the map of the world.
In Tasmania particularly, the name of Flinders deserves to be held in deathless honour. The story of the hazardous voyage in the course of which Flinders and his friend Bass sailed round this island has taken its place among the stateliest epics of the sea. But our obligations neither begin nor end with that classic adventure, for it was largely owing to the glowing description of Tasmanian products and possibilities which Flinders published in England that Capt. Collins was sent here and the settlement of Hobart first established. Moreover, one of the first monuments to Matthew Flinders in Australia was erected by Sir John Franklin when that illustrious navigator was Governor of Tasmania.
Earth's Greatest Discoverers Pay Heaviest PriceIt is with a start of surprise that we recall the fact that the intrepid and dauntless navigator whose audacity and erudition enabled him accurately to survey our interminable Australian coastline, and to present to the old world the first reliable maps and records of Australian territories, was only 40 years of age at the time of his death; and that, even then, six of the last years of his life were spent as a French prisoner at Mauritius. The story of his voyage in the Tom Thumb, a tiny vessel only eight feet in length, will probably be told and retold as long as a love for tales of adventure holds its place in the hearts of men. He sailed for thousands of miles along our Australian coasts in a crazy old craft in which today men would scarcely risk their lives on the most tranquil rivers. Provided only that a vessel could be coaxed to float, however dilapidated it might be, it was good enough for Flinders. The Investigator, the ship which he eventually commanded, had to be abandoned at Sydney as rotten and utterly incapable of repair; and finally, after suffering shipwreck in the Porpoise, he undertook, in the teeth of everybody's advice, to attempt to reach England in the Cumberland, a vessel that every sailor expected to founder or to fall to pieces as soon as she got well out to sea.
At Mauritius he was captured by the French, who were then making frantic efforts to obtain recognition for themselves as the real discoverers of Australia, and who were extremely anxious that the revelations of Flinders should be obscured or delayed until their own book had been published. Suspecting some design of this kind, the astute Flinders had, however, taken the precaution to send a duplicate set of his invaluable documents to England by another vessel, and the nefarious schemes of the wily Frenchmen were thus ignominiously frustrated. And, after enduring six years of totally undeserved incarceration, Flinders hurried to England, wrote his book and died on the very day on which it saw the light.

Yes No good deed goes unrewarded. Often the rewards are not as we would wish.

1. The Problem Of Position

Position breeds self interest and self love. Secularism breeds self interest.

The hardest instrument to play Is second fiddle, so they say
And I believe this is so I've tried, but haven't mastered it though
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
To softly play in harmony While others shine in melody
At times to even pause and rest While others give their best
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
While others are honored so It seldom plays a grand solo
Yet in the background keeps its place While others in the spotlights face
It takes more grace that pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
The second fiddle compliments All the other instruments
While faithful to keep time and tone Tis of great price and worth unknown
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
The master looks for those who he Can use in his great symphony
Tis but a few can bend and blend On whom he always can depend
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.

The purpose of the second fiddle is to play a supporting role and compliment the first fiddle, thus making the first fiddle look and sound good. The audience does not realize that the second fiddler is playing his heart out in order to make the first fiddler look good; yet the second fiddler does not get any credit for what is played. Thus, this part is unglamorous.

Leonard Berstein, the famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic said, “I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm—that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.” The problem of our current day is that there is a tendency to forget people. Men have a tendency to be task oriented: they must achieve their goals, and are not always mindful of the people they are hurting in the process of achieving those goals.Faithfulness in the work place is lacking because workers don’t trust their bosses to do the best thing by them. High employee turn-over speaks of high levels of mistrust.

Power breeds Perverse Uses Of Power

Ron Laura writes “Throughout much of my work, I use the phrase the ‘technologisation of nature' to refer to western society's preoccupation with the task of reducing the whole of the inanimate and animate world to structural and conceptual representations amenable to quantification and thus predictable control.  In the hope of redressing this in balance of perspective, I have argued that the reductionist reconstruction of the world achieves the goal of predictable control only by ignoring or gratuitously eliminating the qualitative elements of human experience from scientific discovery and the form of knowledge it enshrines. In essence technological education thus encourages a primarily intellectual, left-brain and empiricist theory of knowledge in which the qualitative components of and particulatory consciousness and empathetic connectedness are systematically marginalised. From this it follows that the more we instruct people to interact with the world technologically, and the more technological the world becomes, the less articulate and compassionate our culture becomes with respect to the matters of heart, self-purpose and love, without which the world of technology has little lasting meaning on value.  The technological mind-set may make us feel as if we are intellectual giants, but it also distracts us from recognising the truth that in so doing, we have become blinded giants. We become intellectual giants without vision of the value of life beyond the materialist and palpably commodified symbols to which we have reduced it. Far from being value-free, I argue that the form of knowledge we embrace is motivated by our insatiable appetite as a culture for power, dominance and predictable control over the world in which we live. Against this, I am urging that because the conventional and covert rationale which drives technology is to manifest power over nature, its deployment will inevitably lead on the on hand to the degradation and exploitation of nature, while on the other to our alienation and increasing detachment from the world of nature and the earth which sustains all life. This being so, I believe that our technological transformations of nature lead, perhaps inadvertently, to the systematic violation of the natural world and thus eventually, in an important sense to the death of nature, and thus humanity itself. In so doing, we become more forgiving of the failings of our machines, while becoming less tolerant and forgiving of the shortcomings of others.”


Pride breeds Contempt of Others Pride is a terrible thing and has proven to be the downfall of many people. The common saying we here is "Pride goes before a fall." This is actually a bible principle. God warns us through the wise writer of Proverbs: "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Pride causes some to view others as less worth, less valuable to God and our world, than they themselves are. Pride causes some to abuse or misuse someone they should cherish as God's creation. Pride causes some to be lost because they won't submit themselves to God. Perhaps some just cannot make themselves serve God without the praise of men.

2. The Problem Of Perspective

What matters most to you? Tasks or people?     People are hard to service, tasks are easier.  If you think you are doing the job in any form of Christian ministry, you are in for a shock.  People hurt, and people hurt you. We are sinners. And because we are sinners we hurt.  Because ministry is about people and serving people, then there is a cost attached.

Samuel Brengle wrote: Spiritual power is the outpouring of spiritual life, and like all life, from that of the moss and lichen on the wall to that of the archangel before the throne, is from God. Therefore those who aspire to leadership must pay the price, and seek it from God.


SELF-SACRIFICE  Self-sacrifice is part of the price that must be paid daily. A cross stands in the way of spiritual leadership, a cross upon which the leader must consent to be impaled. Heaven's demands are absolute. "He laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" ( 1 John 3:16). The degree to which we allow the cross of Christ to work in us will be the measure in which the resurrection life of Christ can be manifested through us. "Death worketh in me, but life in you." To evade the cross is to forfeit leadership.

"Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ran­som for many" (Mark 10:44-45, italics added). Each of the heroes of faith immortalized in Hebrews 11 was called to sacrifice as well as to service. Willingness to renounce personal preferences, to sacrifice 'legitimate and natural desires for the sake of His kingdom, will characterize those marked out by God for positions of influence in His work. Bruce Barton quotes a pertinent advertisement at a service station: "We will crawl under your car oftener and get ourselves dirtier than any of our competitors." Is that not the service station you would patronize?

Dr. Samuel M. Zwemer recalls the striking fact that the only thing Jesus took pains to show after His resurrection was His scars .3 His disciples recognized neither Him nor His message on the Emmaus road. Not until He broke the bread and they possibly saw the scars were their sensibilities aroused. When He stood in the midst of His demoralized disciples in the upper room after the resurrection, "He showed them both His hands and His side."

Scars are the authentic marks of faithful disciple­ship and true spiritual leadership. It was said of one leader, "He belonged to that class of early martyrs whose passionate soul made an early holocaust of the physical man."' Nothing moves people more than the print of the nails and the mark of the spear. Those are tests of sincerity that no one can challenge, as Paul well knew. "From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus" (Gal. 6:17).

Hast thou no scar? No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand? I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,

I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star: Hast thou no scar? Hast thou no wound?

Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent. Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned: Hast thou no wound? No wound? No scar?

Yes, as the master shall the servant be, And pierced are the feet that follow Me; But thine are whole. Can he have followed far Who has no wound? No scar? AMY WILSON CARMICHAEL

That Paul was willing to pay the price and carried the authentic scars incidental to leadership is attested by an autobiographical paragraph in one of his letters. “On every hand hard-pressed am I—yet not crushed! In desperate plight am I—yet not in despair! Close followed by pursuers—yet not abandoned by Him! Beaten to earth—yet never destroyed! Evermore bearing about in my body The imminence of such a death as Jesus died, So that the life, too, of Jesus might be shown forth In this body of mine Always, always while I yet live Am I being handed over to death's doom For Jesus' sake! So that in this mortal flesh of mine, may be Shown forth also The very life of Jesus” 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-11

How do we get a servant heart? Can we trick ourselves? No we have to love others.

3. The Problem Of Payment If we do this for the reward we have lost our reward.

Matt 20 parable says that! It’s the Sovereign God who delegates rewards.

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." 22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

There Is Sovereignty involved in Spiritual Leadership

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

In the latest issue of Southern Cross (the monthly magazine of the Diocese of Sydney), John Woodhouse provides a stirring exposition of faith in the sovereignty of God as 'the secret of lasting joy in Christian service'. It is worth reading in its entirety, but what strikes me as remarkably timely is his application of this vital doctrine to our thinking and practice of 'gospel work'. I am astonished at how glibly we sometimes speak of gospel work — as though leadership skills, ministry strategies or entrepreneurial flair is what is needed to make the gospel effective. Leadership is not what makes the blind see. Strategies do not make the deaf hear. Entrepreneurs do not make the dead walk!

It is God who calls out his elect, chosen by him before the foundation of the world. They could not have saved themselves and nor could we have saved them no matter how clever we are. And he hardens the heart of others in their chosen state of lostness… What I am saying must not be taken — as it can be taken if distorted — as a reason for complacency or laziness. The sovereignty of God, rightly understood, does not undermine human responsibility. It sets human responsibility in its true context. Human responsibility is a consequence, not a contradiction, of God's sovereignty.”

Here are truths we need to take very seriously in the current climate. Some feel under siege in a world of militant atheism. Others are burdened by expectations, real or imagined, placed on them by others. As John says elsewhere in the article, we need to be reminded that 'the sovereignty of our great and good God is the secret of contentment'. And trusting in this God, we can go on today, confidently and fearlessly, to do those good works 'which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them' (Eph. 2:10).

There is Suffering involved in Spiritual Leadership

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

LONELINESS It was Nietzsche's contention that life always gets harder toward the summit—the cold increases, the responsibility increases. From its very nature, the lot of the leader must be a lonely one. He must always be ahead of his follow­ers. Though he be the friendliest of men, there are areas of life in which he must be prepared to tread a lonely path. That fact dawned painfully on Dixon E. Hoste when Hudson Taylor laid down the direction of the China Inland Mission and appointed Hoste his successor. After the interview during which the appointment was made, the new leader, sensible of the weight of responsibility that now was his, said, "And now I have no one, no one but God!" In his journey to the top he had left behind all his contemporaries and stood alone on the mount with his God.

Human nature craves company, and it is only natural to wish to share with others the heavy burdens of responsibility and care. It is often heartbreaking to have to make decisions of far-reaching importance that affect the lives of loved fellow workers—and to make them alone. It is one of the heaviest prices to pay, but it must be paid. Moses paid the price for his leadership—alone on the mount, and alone in the plain; the crushing loneliness of misunderstanding and criticism and impugning of motive. And times have not changed.

The prophets were the loneliest of men. Enoch walked alone in a decadent society as he proclaimed the impending judgment, but he was compensated by the presence of God. Who could have experienced the pangs of loneliness more than Jonah as he proclaimed the message of an imminent judgment, which could be averted only by immediate repentance, to a heathen city of a million souls? The loneliest preacher today is the man who has been entrusted with a prophetic message that is ahead of his times, a message that cuts across the prevailing temper of the age.

The gregarious Paul was a lonely man who experienced to the full the bitterness of misunderstanding by his contemporaries, misrepresentation by enemies, and desertion by converts and friends. How poignant is his word to Timothy: "You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me" (2 Tim. 1:15).

"Most of the world's great souls have been lonely," wrote A. W. Tozer. "Loneliness seems to be the price a saint must pay for his saintliness." The leader must be a man who, while welcoming the friendship and support of all who can offer it, has sufficient inner re­sources to stand alone, even in the face of fierce opposition, in the discharge of his responsibilities. He must be prepared to have "no one but God."

On without cheer of sister or of daughter, Yes, without stay of father or of son,

Lone on the land, and homeless on the water, Pass I in patience till my work be done. F. W. H. MEYERS

FATIGUE "The world is run by tired men." Although that statement may be challenged, there is more than a grain of reality in the assertion. The ever increasing demands made on a leader drain the nervous re­sources and wear down the most robust physique. But he knows where to go for renewal. Paul was familiar with the secret. "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4: 15-16). The ministry of our Lord wearied him, so He rested by the well (John 4:6). When the needy woman touched the hem of His garment in faith, Jesus was aware that power, nervous force, had gone out of him (Mark 5:30). No real lasting good can be done without the outgoing of power and the expendi­ture of nervous energy. The man who has absorbed the spirit of the wel­fare state is not of the caliber required in a leader. If he is not -willing to rise earlier and stay up later than others, to work harder and study more diligently than his contemporaries, he will not greatly impress his generation. If he is unwilling to pay the price of fatigue for his leadership, it will always be mediocre, unless he is a man of unusual physique and resilience. If he is wise, however, he will seize every legitimate opportunity for recuperation and recreation, or he will limit his own usefulness and ministry.

Writing to the secretary of the Church Missionary Society, Douglas M. Thornton of Egypt said:

But I am weary! I have only written because I am too weary to be working now, and too tired to sleep ... I am getting prematurely old, they tell me, and doctors do not give me long to live unless the strain is eased a bit. My wife is wearier than I am. She needs complete rest a while. . . . Oh, that the church at home but realized one half of the opportunities of today! Will no one hear the call? Please do your best to help us.

Here were missionary leaders willing to pay the price of fatigue in order to grasp the swiftly passing opportunities of their day.

When Robert Murray McCheyne, the saintly young Scottish minister, lay dying at the age of twenty-nine, he turned to a friend who was sitting with him and said: "God gave me a message to deliver and a horse to ride. Alas, I have killed the horse and now I cannot deliver the message." There is no virtue in flogging the tired horse to death.

CRITICISM "There is nothing else that so kills the efficiency, capability and initiative of a leader as destructive criticism.... Its destructive effect cannot be under- estimated. It tends to hamper and undercut the efficiency of a man's thinking process. It chips away at his self-respect and undermines his confidence in his ability to cope with his responsibilities."No leader is exempt from criticism, and his humility will nowhere be seen more clearly than in the manner in which he accepts and reacts to it. In a letter to a young minister, Fred Mitchell once wrote: I am glad to know that you are taking any blessing there is about the criticism brought against you by , in which case even his bitter attack will yield sweetness. A sentence which has been a great help to Mrs. Mitchell and myself is: "It does not matter what hap­pens to us, but our reaction to what happens to us is of vital importance." I think you must ex­pect more and more criticism, for with increas­ing responsibility this is inevitable. It causes one to walk humbly with God, and to take such action as He desires.' Samuel Brengle, who was noted for his genuine holiness, had been subjected to caustic criticism. Instead of replying in kind or resorting to self-justification, he replied: "From my heart I thank you for your rebuke. I think I deserved it. Will you, my comrade, remember me in prayer?" On another occasion, a biting, censorious attack was made on his spiritual life. His answer was: "I thank you for your criticism of my life. It set me to self-examination and heart-searching and prayer, which always leads me into a deeper sense of my utter dependence on Jesus

PERSECUTION Dr. Tson was a pastor in Romania during the communist years. He was repeatedly arrested, interrogated and tortured for sharing the gospel. Dr. Tson "During an earlier interrogation at Ploiesti I had told another officer who threatened to kill me, 'Sir, let me explain how I see this issue. Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying... Everyone will know I died for my preaching. And everyone who has a tape will pick it up and say, 'I'd better listen again to what this man preached, because he really meant it: he sealed it with his life.' So, sir, my sermons will speak 10 times louder than before. I will actually rejoice in this supreme victory if you kill me...' As long as I tried to save my life, I was losing it. Now that I was willing to lose it, I found it." - Dr. Josef Tson

There is Self-sacrifice involved in Spiritual Leadership

Becoming a Servant takes God's Sovereignty, Our Sufferings and Self Sacrifice? How can you experience this? By God's Sovereignty He will lead you to positions of suffering and self sacrifice.  I received a letter the other day as did all our pastors:However, MSD and MC jointly have come to the view that as pastors, as churches, and as a denomination, we need to lift to greater prominence the task of growing new pastors.

Friends, the Lord said it would cost. If we do not make His requirements clear, then those who aspire to leadership will quit after the first year of Pastoral ministry. Burn out for pastors is extremely high. I am the only pastor in my year still serving as a pastor of a Baptist church. Of the 100 who were in college at the same time as I was, barely 10 still remain as pastors.  Many that have dropped out have dropped out broken and bitter men.

It is not easier tasks that we need, but better men. Better men are not built by lying about the task.  They are built of better stuff than that.

With thanks to Spiritual Leadership by J Oswald Sanders, FW Boreham and Ron Laura

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