Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The central question

Keith Bubalo (the national director of WSN, a division of Campus Crusade) recently sent out these devotional thoughts. There about spiritual leadership...enjoy! Anything related to leadership...specifically spiritual leadership has been grabbing my attention lately.

"I was recently reading “In the Name of Jesus” by Henri Nouwen, subtitled Reflections on Christian Leadership. His thoughts are from the temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4) and from Jesus calling John out to follow Him at the campsite by the lake after the resurrection (John 21).He is talking about relevance in the first chapter, and how becoming a priest or minister no longer seems worth the dedication (published in 1989) because the world around us looks for secular answers and not spiritual ones. And then he says,

The secular world around us is saying in a loud voice, “We can take care of ourselves. We do not need God, the church, or a priest. We are in control. And if we are not, then we have to work harder to get in control. The problem is not lack of faith, but lack of competence…”

God grabbed me on that last sentence, to ask how much I am leaning on increasing my competence, rather than increasing my faith when I face personal or leadership issues. Now, I’m not saying I should be content with personal incompetence. But I’m sure I too often work on that as “the solution” to what ever my struggle or issues might be, rather than ask myself what this might have to do with increasing my current trust quotient. Or as Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 6:25 after stopping the winds and the waves, “Where is your faith?” Not, “Why are you such poor sailors and meteorologists, to get in to such a situation and not be able to get yourself out? Wake up, stop being such pathetic fishermen!”

I also wonder how much with our values of faith, effectiveness, and development, (now faith, fruitfulness, and growth) we assume we’ll stay focused on growing in faith. We have developed models to help us make decisions, plan ministries, send students, understand evangelism, figure out healthy emotional development, and they all have their place. And none of these are divorced by nature from a life of faith. But we have to also be strong to stay with a message about growing in trust in Jesus. I know it is “easier” to have someone talk to me about thinking through my decisions better than to ask me something that in some way might imply that I just might not be experiencing a deep abiding trust in the character and sufficiency of Christ! Ouch. How judgemental of them to suggest that! That I might not be trusting God like He wants me to? How dare they imply I might need to grow in faith! Why, the nerve of those Pharisees! But I’m (usually) okay with “coaching” to improve a competency. So, what is that all about?

So, the point for me is a personal one, not really an organizational one. Am I looking first and foremost to Jesus, the author and perfector of faith (not the perfecter of my competencies)? I really want to. I just don’t want the storms, winds, and waves that go with all of that “perfecting”. I generally want to have a good quiet time and be full of faith that day. So, pray for me! And I’ll exit with another quote from Henri’s book:

It is not enough for the priests and ministers of the future to be moral people, well trained, eager to help their fellow humans, and able to respond creatively to the burning issues of their time. All of that is very valuable and important, but it is not the heart of Christian leadership. The central question is: Are leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to look at God’s beauty, to touch God’s incarnate Word, and to taste fully of God’s infinite goodness?"

Sincerely, Keith

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's important to understand how God is dealing with us in this present dispensation. When we realize we are adopted sons and we are adults in Christ and are free to make our own decisions about so many thing it is different from the way Israel had it. But we are fortunate to have the Holy Spirit and the complete Word of God to help us. The Word strengthens our inner man and we have all spiritual blessings & can get through anything. Let the world throw all sorts of circumstances at us, we can stay strong in the Lord and have Joy no matter what is happening. Be careful not to confuse physical blessings promised to Israel with the spiritual blessings were are told we have in Eph. 3 the moment we trusted the finished crosswork of Christ.