Volume 14, Number 11 – NOVEMBER, 2020
Greetings. In the Youth Ministry section this month, a quote is offered by R. Ruth Barton. This quote has challenged me for many years, not just for young people but for myself. When we put together a resume’ for ourselves, we put down what we have done or how we have been trained. Yet all those items we put down only touches a small part of who you and I truly are. The essence of each of us is who we are, our character. The priority is to work on myself and encourage that development in others. Blessings, Mike
When I read Luke 14:25-35, among numerous things, I am reminded of being responsible. Jesus is focusing in on counting the cost of being a disciple of his. Please read over that passage right now.
We have a tendency to whatever tickles our ears even in spiritual discussions, we jump to that issue or concept without considering the cost of commitment. Perhaps this is one reason why when a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ and is not properly discipled in what it means to be a believer, that when the discussion of following Jesus means being committed to Him and the Word, to think as Jesus would, people begin to fall away from their salvation commitment.
What does it mean to be responsible? Think about that concept. It means to accept responsibility, to not make excuses nor blame others when things do not go as wanted, to carry through on what you say you are going to do (that your word is good and not be a hypocrite), and that people know you are going to stand up for your actions.
It is very easy to agree to do whatever or be involved what we feel would be good for us but when we find out what the commitment to what you agreed upon, you want to backtrack as quickly as possible. How often have you and I not taken ownership of what part is our responsibility? It does come down to an issue of integrity.
When in leadership, do you take responsibility for those placed under your influence or responsibility when anyone of them makes a mistake, or in other words, do you place the responsibility on your shoulders for your team? Is there introspection on your part to think about what you could have done differently or what additional training or teaching you need to do to help your team perform better?
Now there will be sometimes when a team member does whatever he or she wants (going rogue on you) and they have to feel the full consequences of their actions. Whether it is this situation or the situation where the team member could have been prepared better by you or where you realize, this member was involved way over their head, how do you treat the member(s)? Will you or I publicly chastise them, basically telling the world, how horrible they performed or will we privately deal with the member regarding the issue?
It is so quick and easy to blame others when in fact, I should be looking at my role in the situation. Perhaps I did everything I could but most times, I can point to a few points that need to be dealt with better or definite room for improvement. Then publicly I need to NOT throw someone “under the bus”, meaning, not to chastise nor tear down their character. Christians are able to tear down the character of a person very subtly, because slandering people comes naturally to our old nature.
Publicly as the leader, I need to build up the team even in negative times, then privately, deal with the issue(s) with the members involved. All of this is being responsible as I am counting the cost of the situation and the person’s character/life, and also being the leader God wants me to be, to be a servant in my leadership role.
Developing responsibility in my life, I need to get the jobs I have right now done and not make excuses to why I cannot complete the task plus show up on time for the task at hand. This is followed up by pursuing excellence in the tasks I have and being a servant, making people as important as myself. My agenda needs to be laid aside and rather put the organization/business or the Lord’s agenda ahead of mine.
Under guarantee and over produce in your tasks. Talk is cheap. Let your actions speak louder than your words. Then continue to develop, be a learner of people and the responsibilities you and I have. Responsibility is an ongoing development quality in a person. When we do this, and going back to Jesus’ instructions in Luke 14, we learn better what the cost of carrying the cross Jesus has given us and how to follow Him more effectively.
WHO WE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT WE DO
“We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of person they should be.” R. Ruth Barton. Often the question we ask children and young people is, what do you want to do when you grow up?. The focus even with our spiritual growth and journey is doing focused. Doing spiritual things like reading your Bible, praying, witnessing and being involved with other Christians is how we gauge our spiritual walk. Now these activities are essential to grow spiritually but if we are simply focused on doing activities whether spiritually or as a leader, we miss the mark.
Who you are is more important than what you do. If you are focused on developing who you are in your relationship with Jesus, to be and think more like Jesus and as a leader, your desire to serve others is priority, that is “who you are” focused rather than “doing” focused. Doing focused can lead to be more of wearing masks with others, where what we do is different or even contrary to what we are in the inside of us. This lifestyle is a definition for what Jesus was describing a hypocrite.
A hypocrite was a mask theatrical people used in Jesus’ day so that people who could not see the faces and body language of the actors due to distance away from the stage. The mask was big with whatever expression or mood the actor was attempting to portray. Jesus said to get rid of those masks. Be real. Be who you are. Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:25-26)
In other words, focus on the inside of you. Work on the who you are. Don’t worry about doing things. Rather develop in the way that will change you from the inside out. There is something all of us who are breathing on earth can work on. The moment we do not need to work on anything in our lives is the moment we arrive in heaven. What aspect of our character, who we are, needs work?
Being given a title or position of leadership or told you are a leader, does not make you a leader because true leadership, the leadership that is explained in the Bible is an inside job. Let’s get rid of our masks, what we want people to see because if those masks are not really you, you will be eventually be found out. The real you will eventually come out and it could definitely be very embarrassing and truth telling.
What needs work on? People need to work on honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, selfishness, lack of self-control, pride, dealings with sexual immorality, jealousy, greed, anger, hatred, or poor attitude. There is so much more to be included. But what do you and I need to work on? Be honest with yourself. Examine your heart. Ask this question, “Holy Spirit, what area of my life do I need to work on?” Give it a little time and be quiet and focused on sensing what comes to mind. Or if you can’t do that, ask your parents, a good friend or someone who knows you pretty good and really cares for you, who will be honest with you.
Then work on that area with the help of the Bible, the leading of the Holy Spirit through His Word and listening to His leading. Find a growing Christian to help you in this area and be intentional about changing. It probably will not be easy but stick with it and watch how Jesus develops you. Then you will be more concerned about who you are becoming rather than what you can and will be doing because who you are will come out as you do life!