We should focus on Jesus – and on what He wants us to do. I like how the Message put vs 17: God didn’t send me to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him.
It’s possible for human leaders to end up attracting followers to themselves, it’s natural that it would happen. The problem is that any human leader has feet of clay and will let us down. We have a banner which is displayed in the entrance hall where we worship in East Horsley. Some well meaning person put my photo and name on it, as well as a big message; “Welcome to L1FE.’ I really don’t like that banner. I am a leader, it’s a gift God has given me. But I don’t want to attract my own following. I have been privileged to lead some people to the Lord, but it’s the Lord who draws people. Years ago a man I didn’t know prophesied over me, “You are a reaper. God has called you to reap where you have not sown.”
It was the first time I was ever floored by the Holy Spirit, as those words were spoken, BAM! This was on a cold, hard stone floor of a church. I certainly didn’t expect (or even want) to be ‘slain in the Spirit,’ especially on a floor like that! But I knew when – eventually – I was able to get up, I was a different man. The Lord had put a new level of anointing on me. But that’s not anything I did. Since that time, I’ve seen the reality of that promise many times.
Paul told the Corinthian Christians, in effect, “I really don’t care about who baptised whom. While I was with you I was just trying to do what God told me to do—preaching the gospel. I don’t care who gets the credit; I was just following my orders.”
It gets even clearer in Chapter 3:3 in the Message: he says, ‘right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ…. as long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile?
Who’s Paul anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master…. I planted the seed, Apollos watered…but God made you grow.”
(1 min vid – take a look) -
It’s God who grows people, and grows churches. Anyone who leads, is just a servant of that ‘mutual master,’ and none of us can do what only God can do! If we remind each other of that it might stop us getting big headed personally, grabbing the glory from Jesus, or exalting one human leader above another. Reading this, you get God’s perspective and so you can see that whoever we are, we’re just servants of God. God doesn’t NEED any of us anyway! Yes, we should honour those who serve well, but from heaven’s perspective it’s ridiculous to put one human above another. It’s like saying my sunflower is growing higher than my neighbours; viewed from outer space – who cares!?
What God wants from us can really be summed up in two words: faithfulness and fruitfulness. God wants us to be faithful to him—to worship and honour him with our whole life, to be willing to joyfully follow wherever he leads and do whatever He says; without grumbling or putting it off, that’s faithfulness. (Maybe you have a better definition?)
And God wants us to be fruitful for him. You can’t be faithful without being fruitful. I believe Fruitfulness has to do with us getting the message out, telling others about Jesus. I want to be fruitful and faithful in this one short life. (Look at my entry on ‘one short life’ for that!)
The best part is, whatever comes our way, if we focus on Jesus, we will have peace; because He is our peace. If we focus on Jesus we won’t worry. If we focus on Jesus we’ll know HE is the reason we’re here – yesterday today and forever, he is the leader we all follow and serve, and I invite you to pray now, “Lord help me do what YOU want – above all else.”