“Why won’t people listen to me? Why won’t they follow my lead?”
Three years ago, I sat in the office of Craig Lyle, the pastor at Faith Baptist in Wichita Falls. Those two questions came flying out of my heart as I tried to share with him what I was feeling and thinking about my ministry here at FBC Vernon.
We were a few months into what became a fifteen month pastor search, and I felt overlooked and ignored as a leader in the church.
So in great frustration I asked my mentor and friend why he thought that was happening.
Our relationship had begun due to my need for marital counseling. I was one year into marriage, and I was ruining it. My anger and frustration was boiling over into unkind and abrasive words towards my wife. I needed help. I needed someone to point me to Jesus.
So there I sat on the couch.
I felt ignored at church and ignored at home.
I mean, seriously. I was twenty-five years of age! Why didn’t my church and my family submit to my vast knowledge and wisdom? Why didn’t they follow my great expertise?
Yes, that’s laughable now.
But that’s exactly how I felt.
I don’t remember exactly what Craig said in response, but the gist was clear.
It was something along the lines of “do you love them?”.
He went on to say “Nate, you’re not called by Jesus to be a cowboy driving cattle. You’re called to be a shepherd leading sheep”.
That was a challenging and convicting word.
All of that came to mind today due to a verse that jumped off the page in my quiet time. I was reading Colossians chapter two.
and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. – Colossians 2:10, NIV
Christ is the head over every power and authority.
That has so many implications in regards to governments and organizations, kings and kingdoms.
But what hit me was the fact that Christ is head over every authority, meaning he is head over mine.
I’ve been given responsibilities in my church. As I walk out these responsibilities, the fleshly desire to be followed, listened to, trusted, and affirmed can be high in me.
But here’s what this verse teaches me.
Here’s what I wrote in my journal after reading this verse.
“I’m first and foremost a man under authority. Before I think about leading others, I have to remember I’m being led. I report to Jesus, my LORD. He is the authority that I am to submit to. This isn’t my youth group. It’s the LORD’s.”
That changes everything about leadership, doesn’t it?
If life is about me being in charge, I may guide people down a path, but they likely won’t feel loved along the way.
If life is about Someone being in charge of me, I’m going to seek to lead others the same way that I’m being led.
As I reflect on this, I worship.
The One in charge of me loves me. The One in charge of me is gentle, humble, patient, compassionate, merciful, kind, persistent, relational, intimate, and personal.
That’s the type of leader I want to be.
The older I get, the less I want authority and power if I’m being honest with you. At times, the idea of me having authority feels dirty to me. Now I know from Scripture that godly men need to lead the people of God. So I keep going. But there are moments I just don’t want any part of the power structures of man.
The older I get, the less the desire to be in charge appeals to me.
The older I get, the more I want to love people like Jesus.
I’m asking God to bring that about in me.
I want those who are around me to see me as gentle, humble, patient, compassionate, merciful, kind, persistent, relational, intimate, and personal.
That truly brings a tear to my eye.
God, please let it be so.
At home, I want my wife and daughter to see Jesus in me.
At work, I want men and women to see Jesus in me.
If I’m given authority, I’ll use it.
But I want to use it in one way.
To love like Jesus.
In His Name,