LEADERSHIP: RESPECTED AND ACCOUNTABLE
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Leadership: Respected, but Accountable
Leadership has always been an important aspect of God’s plan. He chooses leaders of nations of families of churches and more to maintain order and to prepare new leaders for the future. As we observe God’s process of building a King, a new leader for Israel with David, we notice that he was anointed by the prophet, on behalf of the Lord, to be the next in succession. However, the same prophet of the same Lord had previously anointed Saul to be the first King of the nation.
After David’s anointing, King Saul determines to take David out of the picture. He brings his special forces, 3000 choice soldiers, together with the mission to kill David. While Saul has no respect for God’s newly anointed leader, David has surprising honor and respect for the Anointed King who is doing his best to kill him. We especially observe this respect in 1 Samuel 24 and 26 when David has golden opportunities to kill the King with no opposition, but elects to resist the temptation. Each time, his men encourage him to kill Saul, but he always says something to the effect, “who am I to lay a hand on God’s Anointed one?”
David understood that God was the only one who had the right to change leaders and would take care of business when he decided to make it happen. He also understood that one day he would be God’s Anointed leader and he expected similar respect from those he would lead.
God’s leaders are to be respected by their followers, but should be accountable to God for their actions. A day would come when God would end the disobedient King Saul’s reign and David’s rule would begin. For us, in the church God shows us in scripture that there should be respect plus accountability. We are to respect those who have spiritual leadership roles in the church, but they must still be held accountable for irresponsible and sinful actions.
Look at some of Paul’s writings: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a - Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
1 Timothy 5:19-20 - Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.
It is often a thankless job to be a spiritual leader among God’s people. Often people do not realize the sacrifice their leaders make to help the church (the people) to grow spiritually and make the best possible impact for the Lord as they can. No leader is without flaw. Every single one is human and fallible. But God has chosen them for a job.
Therefore, they are to be respected and loved for their service.
God has called elders (pastors, overseers or shepherds) and deacons to lead the flock of God. But he has allowed the church family to help in their selection which make each of us even more responsible to follow their lead and respect their function. He has given us lists of spiritual qualifications to follow in this process in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. If we fail to consider these qualifications, it is our own fault.
However, as we read the passage in 1 Timothy 5:19-20 those leaders in the church must maintain a strong spiritual example for the church. They are accountable to God and the church, not so much for their decisions as for their lives. A church leader will make mistakes, but if he is keeping his walk with the Lord straight he should be respected. He is not to be unfairly criticized or maligned. If he is being overcome by sin, he is accountable for such actions both to the Lord and to the church.
God would hold Saul accountable. David told his men that God would hold his Anointed one accountable as he would later when David faltered in his walk with God. Paul warned the elders in Ephesus in his farewell message in Acts 20 that wolves would invade the flock of God’s people in sheep’s clothing and some of them would be among those elders. They would be false leaders with personal agendas for power and financial benefit. They were to be held accountable and to be anticipated by the others in leadership. Paul reminded this elders that their roles were the kinds of generosity when he quoted Jesus with the words, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Christian leaders put God first, their own walk with him second, the people (sheep of the flock) second and their own desires and needs last.
I am thankful that the First Christian Church family has leaders who understand these priorities. They are sacrificial with their time, money, compassion, love and concern for the Lord and his people. I am thankful that they continually seek ways to lead better and live better and serve better. I encourage you to pray for them every day and show them your support and grace. Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of this team. We pray that God will lead us in every decision and action, in Jesus’ name.
This Sunday we will bring a message from our series When God Build’s a King How a lowly shepherd became a great king. This one is titled Déjà vu All Over Again based on1 Samuel 26:1-25. I hope you will join us for another dynamic challenge from the Word of God.
Serving you and with you,