My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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Perspectives on Leadership
An olive tree in Greece.
So all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us.’
And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you,
then come and take refuge in my shade;
but if not, let fire come out of the bramble
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’
This passage of scripture may be the earliest fable in written history. Fables were often used when the people would no longer listen to truth, but were clouded by their own thoughts of grandeur. Instead of being able to have honest conversations, there were wise individuals who would have to resort to story-telling to get the attention of the people. There, the listeners would discover themselves, and, possibly, realize the folly of their ways. Fables use nature, or animals to tell a story, while parables use people, but they are both devices that are used, especially when people won’t listen. Jesus knew this well.
This fable uses the story of trees to give us perspectives on leadership. Both the olive tree and the fig tree refuse to take the position of leadership and say that they believe it is more important to focus on that which they do well. Because none of the others will take the place of leadership, finally all the trees submit themselves to the bramble. The problem with the bramble is that, in comparison with the fig and olive trees, it is quite small. The large trees will never find shelter in the branches of the bramble, which is a type of thorn bush. This is a tree with limited shelter, but that can also be destructive. Sadly, the offer of refuge is not genuine, and is followed by a threat. If now, they do not allow the bramble to rule over them, then the bramble will destroy them.
This story is thought to represent Abimelech, a man of great cruelty, juxtaposed against Gideon and his seventy men. If Abimelech rules, he will destroy.
There are a couple of ways in which this passage can be interpreted that can give us perspectives on leadership. Let’s try version one:
. The people want a leader who can rule over them. The problem is that good leaders with the right motivation are probably not inclined to take the position. A good and productive person, like the olive and fig, are busy doing good things and they really don’t want to get involved in the politics of power. This is of no appeal to them. On the other hand, the worthless person is excited when they are offered a position of power and authority. Unfortunately, this last type of leader ends up destroying the very people who ask him to rule in the first place.
But what about version two?
. In this view we find the olive and fig trees, both of which are extremely responsible. Unfortunately, they are unwilling to give up their personal and private interests for the good of others. Or, in their humility they do not take the position because they are afraid that the power may go to their head and therefore they would become unfruitful. There is an interesting potential consequence here, that the one who does good may be afraid of becoming too great. However, if the responsible individuals do not seriously think about the state of affairs and step up to take responsibility, the irresponsible bramble will take over, and all will die in the fire.
Ultimately, when opportunities are placed before a leader, they must be very careful and cautious in their decision making process. There may be times when it is right to remain where you are and carefully manage that which God has placed into your hands. At the same time, there are moments when we must sacrifice our comfort zone for the sake of the greater good. However, to be a leader is to always submit humbly to the authority of God. When we give power and authority to the bramble, for whatever reason, there will be negative consequences. Leaders need to consider that carefully.
Lord, leadership is a burden which you share with others. May we always be reminded that this is from you, and be a discerning people, serving with great humility. Amen.
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: 1Sam. 2:18 Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Observation:
Little Samuel was being raised in the presence of Eli’s wicked sons. They were doing things wrong, and stealing food from the sacrifices they were supposed to be making on behalf of the people. In their midst was a precious little boy whose mother was influencing him to do everything right. She brought him a new robe every year so that it would fit properly and he wore the linen ephod, a priestly garment, over the top. This was what he should have been doing and he did it right, when Eli’s sons took short-cuts in everything that they were doing.
Hannah came back year after year to check in her son and give him a new garment. One can imagine that she encouraged him to do the right things and to serve God faithfully. Surely, day after day, whi…