I was reading Romans 12 this morning and the way the translation said it got me thinking. I’m not competent in Greek to be able to work out if this is a great translation, so this isn’t a lesson just a rabbit-trail!
I really liked v8 where it said:
if you are in a position of leadership, lead with diligence and zeal
So often I connect leadership with identity. This is partly from the way I hear people talk about it, in books or at conferences: “you are a leader” – but also because I think I take a lot of pride in it. This verse reminded me that it is good to have a separation between the two and recognise that leadership is a gift and a position!
In 1 Cor 13 it talks about how the gift of prophecy and tongues will cease. I reckon that its the same with leadership and when we get to heaven it will cease! (at least in the human sense of it – obviously God will still lead!) Why will we need leaders when we’ll be in direct relationship with God?
Therefore if we, or I, build my identity on ‘being a leader’, then when I get to heaven what will I be then? Or what about in this life, if I become incapacitated to lead, or I’m in a job like I was at in Sainsbury’s where I’m not “leading” anyone. (I know we all have influence and can “lead upwards” – but you know what I mean) This is why I want to move from saying “I/You are a leader” (however true it might be) to “I/You are in a position of leadership”. This will not only keep me humble – reminding me that it is a gift – but also help me relate more healthily to those in authority.
I want my identity to clearly rest in what Jesus has done for me, rather than my work or position. I’m sure people are called leaders in the Bible and there is a link between leadership and identity, and I do care about that. I know it seems like a silly personal/semantic issue, but I think it will make a big practical difference in my perspective.
I am a child of God, dearly loved by Him. Chosen, Forgiven, Loved and an instrument for His glory (Eph 1) And my confidence rests in Him. It happens that he has put me in a position of (obvious) leadership in this season of my life, but this is not because I myself am superior but because His grace is great, and therefore I will lead “with diligence and zeal”!
One more comment, it’s because this is a gift and because of His goodness to me that I can truly work with diligence and zeal. If I believe it is within my own power to lead, I will lead with human-diligence and human-zeal. But if I recognise it as a gift then I will understand my utter-dependence for Spirit-empowered-diligence and zeal!