Monday, March 4, 2013
Which Way Is the Wind Blowing?
Mark 11:27 ¶ Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him
Mark 11:28 and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?”
Mark 11:29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mark 11:30 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.”
Mark 11:31 They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
Mark 11:32 But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”—they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet.
Mark 11:33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
Unfortunately the religious leaders, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders had become political in their leadership style. They weren't necessarily looking for truth, they were seeking to retain power. Therefore the continuous question for Jesus -- "Who gave you this authority?" They are frustrated and dumbfounded by what is happening because surely God would have worked through them because they had fought hard to have the positions of power within the system. Doesn't God work with the system?
Jesus shows incredible skill as a leader as he turns the question on them. John the Baptist had been a beloved religious leader and many had been baptized by his hand, including a number of religious leaders. How would they respond to a question regarding John? They were stunned. How could they respond? They had to test the wind -- and this is where Jesus caught them. They were constantly looking for popularity among the people and this drove their actions and reactions. Their lives weren't based on truth, they were based on having gained power and now retaining that power. All else simply faded into the background. Jesus caught them in their own way of thinking. They were stumped and simply responded "We do not know" -- not wanting to commit themselves one way or another. A non-answer was their answer.
As followers of Jesus Christ, whether we are in positions of leadership or not, we must not allow ourselves to be caught up in the power games of the flesh. This can become a temptation for anyone for there is something intoxicating about finding yourself in a place of power and authority. Then somehow we can forget to make decisions based on truth and the "right" thing to do and instead we become consumed with maintaining the position of power and will do most anything to remain there. Almost daily the balloons are sent up to determine the direction of the wind and instead of showing leadership we spend all our time chasing the wind. This is not the type of spiritual leadership which God intended.
Spiritual authority may only come for a season and it should be accepted for the appointed time with accountability to the Father. The winds should not be tested but the heart should be laid bare before God when spending time in his very presence. The leader who fails to spend time in Holy of Holies with the Father is functioning out of their own particular skill set -- not out of the power and authority of heaven. When a leader recognizes that they are simply ambassadors of God here on earth, then the focus is not on retention of personal power for it no longer has to do with personal power. Instead it has to do with servant leadership -- being a slave or servant to God on high.
Lord, may the focus of my life be on serving you and the direction in which you lead. Amen.