December 10, 2007
A MATTER OF OBEDIENCE
by Charles R. Swindoll
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Leading can be awfully lonely and terribly frustrating. I haven’t always believed that. Fact is, when I was a starry-eyed seminary student back around ’59 and ’60, I had this crazy idea that a leader lived a charmed life. Especially a spiritual leader. My fantasy included contented people, smiling and grateful; plenty of time to think, study, and do relaxed research; no financial woes; short counseling sessions with folks who were eager and happy to adjust their lives according to Scripture; untold energy; sermons that virtually jumped from the text, then into my notes and out of my mouth. No conflicts. No confrontations . . . no kidding!
You’re smiling. (I told you it was a fantasy.)
It’s amazing what four decades can do to a wastebasket full of theories. Today I would tell anyone thinking about becoming a spiritual leader to think again. It’s not that they’re not needed; goodness knows, this ornery planet of depraved humanity can always use a few more leaders who are Christian to the core. The problem is, it’s a lonelier task than it used to be. And the frustrations can be downright maddening.
In the midst of all this, it always helps me to return to my “call.” Thousands of miles away from home, stationed on a tiny island in the South Pacific, I distinctly remember the inner surge of assurance that I would be neither fulfilled nor happy doing anything other than ministry. It meant changing careers and returning to graduate school. It meant retooling my mental machinery for a lifetime of study. It meant living my life under the always curious and sometimes demanding scrutiny of the public eye, and, if necessary, being willing to go to the wall for the sake of the gospel. None of this mattered. God had spoken to my heart, and there was no turning back. It was a matter of obedience.
We must recognize that the Lord, our God, is responsible for our appointment to any place of leadership. Over all other suggestions and advice, we must seek to hear the counsel of Almighty God as revealed in Scripture. We must take refuge in and rely on the Spirit of God rather than our own flesh and skill. With our whole heart we must fear Jesus Christ, our Lord, and acknowledge Him as the sovereign Head of the church, deserving of our unreserved faithfulness, submission, diligence, and commitment.
For me, there are no other options.
It’s a matter of obedience.
How about you?
Take refuge in and rely on the Spirit of God rather than your own flesh and skill.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.