Wednesday, June 12, 2013
2Chronicles 10:16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:
“What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!”
So all the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[a] who was in charge of forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
Phil. 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
What an incredible contrast between Rehoboam and Jesus. Both of them were from the line of David. Rehoboam was only two generations removed from his grandfather King David and yet in character and action he may as well have been from a pagan land.
Rehoboam became the leader and could have held the kingdom together if only he had listened to the advice of the wise elders. Sadly, it does not appear that he had the best interest of the kingdom in mind but instead, was concerned about his own control and power. The focus of his leadership was on himself and not the people for whom he was to care. He wanted to know how much he could get out of those people. The elders told him to love and care for his people, lighten the load and they would gladly serve him. Instead he determined to take the advice of his young friends who said to punish and control the people, treat them harshly and punish them. This method of leadership backfired. A riot ensued and the kingdom was divided. The people felt that they were not truly a part of the kingdom and so they packed up their tents and went home.
Fast forward to Jesus, the servant leader. He wasn't concerned about having power for himself. He knew that all power and authority could be at his fingertips, but he was willing to give it all up for the subjects in his kingdom. Jesus' leadership was completely focused on his people. He was willing to empty himself and do what was necessary for others. He didn't seek power, instead he humbled himself for the sake of others. The result was an eternal kingdom where we are all invited to come and be partakers...where the yoke is easy and the burden is light.
We all have opportunities to be leaders and we all have choices to make about how we will act and react. We may not be in a formal leadership position but we all have opportunities to exhibit leadership from time to time. This maybe in the home, at church, at play or in the work environment.
I remember as a child I would boss around my dog. She was the one who was on a lower rung than I, the little sister of three big brothers. Even as a child and dealing with my dog I realized that there were different ways to get a response. If I truly loved and took care of my dog's needs she would stick by me, day and night. If I tried to be bossy with her, she pretty much ignored me. It was an ineffective way to lead and even my dog knew it.
As Christians were are admonished to be servant leaders in the form of Christ. Is this a leadership style that allows one to be walked on? Hardly. Jesus stood up to the bullies of his day. It's why they finally crucified him. But his motivation was to care for his people and was willing to stand up for those who had need. Not only that, he was willing to die for his people. It was not done for himself, but all for others.
This is what it means to be a servant leader, it has to do with motivation. Therefore it is our motivations which need to be checked on a regular basis. Holiness should bring us to regular and periodic self examination of the heart and our motivations. Why do we do what we do? If we are heading off on a wrong trajectory, then we need to allow God to check our compass and redirect us in the right path. We must listen to the advice of God and godly mentors and disregard the voices of the world. Only in is way can we adopt the leadership paradigm which God intended. His paradigm is a holy paradigm completely and totally filled with him, reflecting his love, care and nurture for his people.
Lord, may today and every day be a time of self examination and reflection. Please help me to be willing to listen to your correctives. Amen.