Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 13- Servant Leadership

August 13, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Nehemiah 5:14-7:73; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13;
Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 21:8-10

One of the best sources of perspective is enemies. 
If we can learn from them, then we can profit from anyone. 
~Dan B. Allender

Nehemiah 5:14-7:73

I had the priviledge of meeting Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A, and listening to him speak on servant leadership.  He emphasized the following points:
  • Leadership is often developed beginning with the model you saw from your family growing up. His parents modeled Christian faith and passion for their business and other people.
  • People come first when you are a leader.  You must have concern for others.
  • Compassion and forgiveness are important when you lead others.
  • When leading others, it is important to stay on track.  The main thing is the main thing.
  • Having good character in leadership is vitally important.
  • A good leader knows how and when to pass the baton. 
Today, Nehemiah exhibits servant leadership as he successfully completes the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, while dealing with crafty enemies.

We see that Nehemiah is proud to establish that as a leader he did not draw on an official food allowance that many past governors had used.  These sorts of perks weighed heavily on the population of regular folks, who had to pay the taxes to support their lavish lifestyles.  Our modern Congress and President would do well to read this passage and learn from Nehemiah.  In addition to being frugal with other people's money, Nehemiah and his officers rolled up their sleeves and did the manual labor of helping rebuild the wall.  This extraordinary project was built by regular folks and even the wealthy Israelites.  We see that cooperation and faith led to an amazing accomplishment.  The wall was built in only 52 days.

It would be nice to think that this was a miraculous event that did not include any trials, but when is that ever the case with a great work?  Nehemiah is plagued with mulitple thorns in his sides named Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem.  Upon completion of the wall, Sanballat and Geshem try to get Nehemiah to meet them at a village.  He refuses, suspecting their intent is to harm him.  They accuse Nehemiah of trying to become a king in Jerusalem.  Nehemiah meets their intimidation tactics with prayer.  He cries out numerous times for God to remember all that he has done.  He also asks that God remember all the evil things that his enemies have done.  Do you rely on prayer for strength and encouragement when you face enemies?

Nehemiah successfully completes the wall and then registers the people of the city.  We are given a detailed list of the remnants.  People count in God's economy, and Nehemiah is literally counting them! This is a wonderful reminder that we are part of God's registry.  He knows us by name and loves us.  Our works will be recorded and remembered, forever.  Notice that God also records the gifts that people give in His name.  What have you given recently in the name of God?

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Paul is continuing to mentor/disciple the Corinthians.  Now, the topic is food that has been sacrificed to idols.  We do not deal with this problem today in America.  Back in this time period, pagan religions were practiced and many of these Corinthians would have been raised eating food that had been sacrificed to a pagan god.  Paul points out that idol gods are not really gods, at all.  There should be no problem eating food that has been sacrificed to them, but some young Christians feel that in good conscience, they cannot eat food that has been dedicated in that way. 

Paul encourages the more mature Christians to abstain from eating food that has been sacrificed to idols, if eating it would damage the faith and conscience of a fellow Christian.  In our day, this can be applied to drinking alcohol.  One Christian may feel that there is no problem with drinking alcohol provided that it does not lead to drunkenness.  Another Christian may feel that they cannot drink in good conscience.  Paul's teaching would indicate that the more mature Christian should abstain from drinking alcohol in the presence of the Christian who feels that it is wrong, in order to help their fellow believer.  This is the idea of loving your neighbor above yourself.  It is an example of putting others first.

Living your life intentionally is always good.  This is a way to help other Christians not stumble.

Do you practice this type of selfless Christianity?

Psalm 33:1-11

Notice the power of God in verses 6-7.  Do you believe these words?

Proverbs 21:8-10

Do you walk a straight path or a crooked path?  Crooked paths are filled with problems, as a consequence of sin.

What did you notice today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton
© 2011

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