Thanks for joining me at the Nines today -- my name is Frank Turk, and I'm a blogger, and you can read more about me in the author bios if you find any of today's talk especially compelling.
Before I have a go at this, I was tempted to tell you about my “last week” and my “this week” as I prepared this talk. But as far as that goes, you probably don’t want to know “how I do it.” I work in the supply chain for global renewable energy, and my job is like being Batman but without the unlimited Wayne Industries resources and without the awesome bat-cave office space but with all the same assortment of crazy people who need to be corralled, contained or incarcerated.
I mean: I’m a guy who works in a wholly-secular industry with its own theology and end-times strategy, and I get it that it seems good to be a professional person with a word of wisdom because I do such a great job.
But here’s the thing: I know for a fact that my way of doing anything is prone to one thing only, and that’s making much of me – making sure I stay important and I stay needed. That’s why I see myself as Batman, right? Dark, cool, and utterly necessary -- even if people have to fear me.
But look: I believe in the Real Jesus. And the first thing that has to mean is this: I am not Him - I can’t be him. I can’t lead like Jesus because I am not Lord of All: I have to lead like someone Jesus has saved. If I can start my engagement with other people by knowing there is a Real Jesus, and I am not him but a subject of his ridiculously-generous sacrifice, I can probably knock off about two-thirds of my natural tendency to pounce on the wicked from the shadows -- because I have to realize that I am the wicked, and I could have been rightly struck down by God, and instead he saved me.
The guys who followed Jesus around had this same problem. You can imagine when James’ and John’s mother asked Jesus if her boys could be his left-hand and right-hand men, the other apostles were a little worked up. But he said to them, “Look: the kings and leaders of the people without God are in the authority business, worried about who is the one guy in charge – but it isn’t supposed to be like that with you fellows. With you, whoever would be great among you must be a servant.” The Greek there is the word for “waiter”. And Jesus made sure to say this so we understand his point: “You must be a servant even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Another time Jesus said it plainly: “I am the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. A hired hand is not a shepherd, who doesn’t own the sheep, and he runs away when a wolf comes because he doesn’t care anything for the sheep."
Jesus says that the way you get great in his order of things is by laying down your life for other people, not by becoming like the best in class among the those who have a different economy than God does.
Let me be honest: I find myself caught in this trap all the time. So when I sit down to do my work, or something like ministry, I know I need to check myself to make sure that the means and motives of the ungodly are not pushing out my fundamental love for Jesus, and also for his people – some of whom are not yet saved.
Think about it: are you seeking how to lead God’s people until Jesus returns? if that’s true, what are Jesus’ means and methods for achieving his ends?
I only have about another minute, so here’s a short list of Jesus’ means & methods:
- saying the things God has said rather than the things the world says
- confessing our sins not just in general, but specifically when we blow it
- loving our wives the way christ loves the church
- suffering for those who cannot pay us back
- giving up glory the way christ gave up glory to show people real love rather than just good manners
I can’t lead the right way – that is, the way Jesus calls me to – if I do it my way. I have to do it his way, which is the way that saved me in the first place. And if instead I want to be a leader who sits at his left hand or his right hand, Jesus tells me plainly: I am doing it wrong. I need to be a servant for the sake of others, and to die for them.
And listen carefully: if that’s true for a guy who works at a secular job, how much more true is that for those of you who are working inside God’s house with God’s People? Does your model of leadership look like a servant who dies for the sake of other people – or does it look like you’re getting all the right people on the bus so that you can get into the fly wheel effect and out of the doom loop?
Think about that today because Jesus wants you to think about that. That is explicitly how he said to do it, and this is your chance to listen to him.
My name is Frank. Enjoy the rest of the day.