Admittedly, this week’s post is not particularly “leadershippy,” but it is interesting, and even a bit convicting. Take a look at this website. I think it speaks for itself:
Monthly Archives: June 2012
I need your help. I am working on a theory, and I could use some input. My theory is this:
As I look at the Gospels, I see Jesus talking very firmly to the religious leaders and those who claim to know God (Pharisees, etc.) However, when Jesus talks to “non-believers” he seems to be much more gracious, patient, and not judgmental. In other words, Jesus seems to have a double standard. One set of expectations for God-followers, and another set of expectations for those who are not God-followers. If my theory holds true, I think it has significant applications for us. For example:
If we want to be like Christ, how do we relate to people who are believers and those who are non-believers?
Can we expect a non-believer to be held to the same standards as a believer?
What might this mean for how we relate to our culture, both within and outside of the church?
Again, this is just a theory. I’m happy to be proved wrong. This is where you come in. Will you help me read through the Gospels carefully and identify passages where this theory either holds true or where it is incorrect? Once we’ve compiled some results, I’ll post another message that will clarify our findings.
I think it is an important distinction that Jesus makes, and especially important for us who live in a culture that is increasingly distant from God.
Recently, I’ve been trying to teach my kids a bit about church history. Not the most thrilling subject for them (as they’ve reminded me), but there are so many valuable lessons to be learned from faithful saints who have gone before us.
One of my heroes of the faith is a man named Athanasius. He was a bishop in Alexandria, Egypt, in a time when the church was finally free from Roman persecution. But no sooner was the pressure from the outside relieved when there began to be pressure from within the church. A faction of heretical thinkers, Arians, threatened to divide the church with their false views of Jesus. Athanasius stood for the truth, but it cost him dearly. Although he was a bishop for a lengthy time (45 years), he spent over 17 of those years in exile. Different Roman emperors were sympathetic with the Arians and so as each new regime came and went he was either allowed to return to his home or he was forced into exile in the desert. He was exiled five different times, not to mention countless other times when he was forced to flee because of threats to his life.
All in all, Athanasius never really had the chance to “settle” in his ministry. He lived with a constant sense of urgency, never knowing if each day might be his last chance to minister and to share the truth.
I think there are a lot of lessons we can learn from Athanasius faithfulness. One would be the value of the truth over our own comfort. Athanasius could have simply agreed with the Arians and saved himself a lot of trouble. But he stood for the truth, no matter the cost.
Another lesson is urgency. If we knew that we only had one more day to minister to the people God has put in our path, what would we do differently?
What other lessons do you see from the life of this faithful servant?