Sermonette for Saturday

Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. Luke 9:46

The late Gordon Fairweather, former Member of Parliament and the first commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, was speaking with an audience in Saint John about his efforts to mediate a dispute in an African nation. Part of his efforts involved meeting with members of a rebel group. He said the talks were interesting because all members of the group were considered equal to each other. It became apparent, he said with a grin, that some members were more equal than others, and they were the ones he spoke with. His observation reminds us that in every group of people, some will always rise to leadership. There will also be some – not necessarily the same – who will seek for and strive for leadership. Should the Lord’s people adopt the disciples’ approach to determining leadership?

How did the disciples approach this issue? Our text tells us that they applied the principle of reasoning. This was something they felt they could figure out on the basis of facts and figures, by comparing and contrasting, or by weighing up the evidence It made perfect sense, they thought, to reason it all out. And some of them felt they were good candidates for leadership.

Peter had the personality, always at the forefront of everything the disciples did. James had the energy and ambition. John had such a close relationship with Jesus. Matthew was used to running things for the government… and what about Judas; he was already the group’s treasurer. On and on they argued, looking at their own traits and strengths, pitting one against the other, arguing one point against another. Can reasoning really resolve the issue of leadership?

I remember many years ago when the power brokers in Israel needed to find someone to lead the country, and there were no obvious candidates. Everybody who might have been chosen seemed to have a serious flaw in their abilities to get along with each other. So instead of looking for a dynamic and charismatic personality, they sought someone with strength of character, a deep love for Israel, and an ability to cooperate with others. They chose someone with little or no interest in the job: Golda Meir became one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers. The Holy Spirit today lifts up leaders among God’s people from those who are able, not among those who seek leadership.

God’s people need leaders chosen by Himself, not ourselves. -Jim MacIntosh

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