Leadership; May 20, 2017

Joshua 6:16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”

Differences in language can be very interesting. In English, the command to shout is one syllable, but in Japanese, the shortest it could be said is three syllables, and the translation I use expresses it in 11 syllables! Part of that comes from the fact that there are different kinds of shouting, and the translators were most concerned with accuracy. This makes me very curious about the Hebrew! That said, this is one moment in one of the most famous and dramatic incidents in the whole Bible. God used Jericho to teach the Israelites to trust and obey Him, specifically through Joshua. I don’t think this generation ever forgot that lesson! Sadly, later generations, not having Joshua, lost sight of the vital truth that our trust and obedience are due to God, and only secondarily to those whom He uses. This is a major factor in churches today. Some churches are indeed centered on God, with the pastor as the Chief Worshiper. However, all too many are centered on the pastor himself, and that never ends well. It doesn’t matter how gifted and/or charismatic a person might be, apart from Christ they can do nothing. (John 15:5) Following God brings success. Following a person alone doesn’t. If the leader is committed to following God, then the distinction between following God and following the leader blurs considerably, as it did with Moses and Joshua. However, that becomes very risky. Leaders need accountability to help them stay on focus in following God rather than their own ambitions. Many major ministries have crashed and burned from a lack of accountability. This is why James says so clearly, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) It’s bad enough when we miss God on a personal level, but even worse when we lead others in the process. That’s why a leader’s personal relationship with Christ is of the utmost importance. One of the saddest statistics is how few pastors read the Bible at all, other than for sermon preparation.

As a pastor, I am painfully aware of this truth. My devotional time each day is my first priority in a number of ways, but that doesn’t guarantee that I hear and follow the Lord with perfect accuracy. I have always sought to have a Christ-centered church, rather than a pastor-centered church, but I’m afraid that a lot of people look at it as my church anyway. I endeavor to communicate what I hear the Lord saying and not simply command people, but it doesn’t always come across that way. I’ve not been very good at praising progress when it has fallen far short of perfection. I forget how far I fall short of perfection! I need to let my painful mistakes teach others to avoid them, so that together we may follow Christ more accurately.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the Coaching meeting yesterday, and for all You did in it. Thank You for the potential door that appeared for me to have a wider ministry. I pray that I would not run ahead or lag behind, but do and say what You want me to when You want me to, to build up the Body of Christ in this nation for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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