“10So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
As we consider the gifts of the Spirit, it is important to remember that the Spirit of God often moves on us in many ways. We may be led to prayer or perhaps to teach or even leadership during certain times. But that is not the only time where we can practice these gifts.
We all remember well the song “Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow”. And when we sing it, in our heart of hearts we really do mean it. However, do we always live it?
Just a few weeks ago our Jewish brethren celebrated Yom Kippur. It is the holiest of holy days. It is the ending of the old year and the beginning of a new year. It is a time of fasting, abstention and reflection. A common custom on Yom Kippur is to read the story of Jonah. And when it comes to the gift of leadership, Jonah is a good story for us as Christians to look at as well. The lessons of the story are varied and important but for the moment we are going to focus on the call and what Jonah did.
When God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and prophesy, Jonah ran away. So often when God calls us to leadership we too run away. Partly it is out of fear, doubt and maybe like Jonah, a bit of “why me” and why “them” (or that). God calls us often to do big things and leadership is one of those things, but sometimes He also calls us to do small things and leadership is one of those things as well.
Like Jonah we may feel afraid. We may question whether we have what it takes to do the job, but we have a promise from God that He is with us, “so do not fear….”
Leadership in the church is not only the responsibility of the minister or the Elders or the Deacons. Leadership sits with each one of us in the pew. Not every leadership position involves standing before the congregation and giving a sermon. Not every leadership job involves leading a Bible study or a class. In fact, most leadership jobs in the church are really rather “small”.
They include things like decorating the Sanctuary. Calling on members that have missed a week or two. They include things like greeting visitors and encouraging one another.
When we think of leadership, we too often think of Moses and the burning bush. But God doesn’t always ask us to be the “savior” of the nation. He sometimes asks us to lead in small ways. Like Moses we too often answer God, “Who am I that I should go….” But God always answers back, “I will be with you.”
It doesn’t matter how large or small the task. God is always with us. And even in the moments between the Spirit leading us into big adventure, we are called to be leaders. There are so many little task that a congregation needs someone to step up and say “I will do that”, not because they are elected to office or because it is their duty as an appointed leader, but because we all want to serve God. And talent, skills and abilities are never what brings success. What brings success is doing the little things for God’s glory.
Look around, even in this pandemic time, there are little task that need leaders to complete them. Each one of us is a leader and each one of us has been called by God. It is why we are here. It is how we worship the God who sent His son to us. He has proven that He is with us. Jesus stands ready to work beside us, through us. Now is the moment to become leaders who relish our time with our God. Now each of us takes up our cross and follow Jesus, by leading in word and deed.
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