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Tag Archives: scripture passage

Qualifications for Leadership

In thinking about Biblical Leadership, I notice something significant. There are two key places in which qualifications for leadership are outlined. The first place is in Exodus 18. You might be familiar with the story. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes to visit, and notices that Moses is overworked, and needs to delegate (that is a lesson in itself, but we’ll save that for another time).

Jethro advises Moses to identify some people to assume leadership roles. Jethro lists some qualifications that Moses should look for in potential people: “Select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens” (Ex. 18:21).

Later, in the New Testament, Paul is advising Timothy about how to choose leaders. He, too, like Jethro, tells Timothy some qualities to look for in potential leaders (1 Timothy 3).

The thing to notice about both of these passages is what the qualifications for leadership are. In both lists, the only concerns are the character of the leader, not their skills. When we ask, “is this person qualified for leadership?” we tend to focus on their skills or accomplishments, but the Bible seems to focus on their character instead.

As you look at the people you lead, are you more focused on their skill set, or their character?

Does this make you re-evaluate people for leadership?

What is the proper place for evaluating skills and accomplishments?

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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Prayer

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about prayer lately. And one Scripture passage has come up a couple of times. It is a pretty strange parable, spoken by Jesus in Luke 18:

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”

What strikes me about this parable is how Luke introduces it. He says right in verse 1 why Jesus tells the disciples this story: “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” So before you even read the story, you know what you are looking for: an example of how to pray and not give up.

But what exactly is that example? Clearly there is something that the widow does that we are supposed to emulate. But what? My gut feeling tells me that the widow’s key trait is persistency–she doesn’t give up until she gets the answer she wants. In fact, my Bible has a header for this passage, calling it “The Parable of the Persistent Widow.” But really, I think there is a different quality at work. Something else that Jesus wants us to show us about always praying and never giving up.

The trait that this widow has that we should emulate is that she knows where to turn. It is telling that Jesus describes the judge as unjust and evil. The widow can’t predict whether the judge will do the right thing or not. She’s powerless in the situation, yet she reaches over and above her social situation to talk to the judge, because she knows that he is the only one who can help her. She knows who to turn to. And when she doesn’t get an answer immediately, she keeps turning to him. She doesn’t try to solve the problem herself, she doesn’t look for a male relative who can help, she keeps on asking the same judge. He’s the only one with the ability to help her.

Her persistency is not that she fervently prays the same thing over and over again, but rather that she prays persistently to the only one who can make a difference. And that is the quality that Jesus wants us to emulate. Turning only to God, not matter how long it takes, to get an answer to our prayers.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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John the Baptist (Self-Denial)

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the issue of self-denial. We talked about the difference between self-denial and self-sacrifice, in an excerpt from B.B. Warfield’s comments on Philippians 2. This article showed us that self-denial can be it’s own idol, and the more we focus on self-denial, the more we are really just focusing on ourselves. Our examination of the event in history known as the Affair of the Sausages showed us that self-denial done out of obligation or duty, rather than from the heart, becomes a mindless and purposeless gesture.

As I’ve been contemplating these issues, I’m drawn over and over to John the Baptist’s example. Here was a man who from birth was steeped in a tradition of self-denial, since he had been set apart with the Nazirite vows (see Numbers 6). He lived a life of self-denial on par with anyone.

Yet that is not the compelling part of his example to me. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims–anyone can learn the skills of self-denial. For John, though, his self-denial was wrapped up in one important purpose: the worship of Jesus.

In John 3:29-30, John says of Jesus, “Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

For John, self-sacrifice had a clear purpose: to increase the renown of Christ in the world. His wasn’t a self-focused denial, but a mission to which God had called him.

As we meditate on this scripture passage, reflect on this question:

What in your life might need to be sacrificed so that Christ can be exalted?

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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