Devotional for February 5 – Leadership
Written by Pastor Mark
Paul is having a problem with the people ofCorinth. They were a troubled people. Right before today’s section Paul is making an argument in favor of paying those who proclaim the Gospel. He quotes a proverb about muzzling an ox when it is treading on the grain. Others may not see a clear connection. Paul, however, never received money for preaching. He had another vocation as a tent maker, and continued in that trade wherever he was preaching. Paul is very proud of this and boasts about it in today’s lesson.
I have a friend who is a vice president for Starbuck’s Coffee at their Corporate Offices. She shared with me that they use a book entitled “Servant Leadership” as a part of their training for new managers. We were talking about how hard it is to be a manager. She happened to stop by the local store late one night and met the manager closing up. When she went back the next morning she was also on duty opening the store. Why would a manager do this? It was a holiday weekend and no one else wanted to work these shifts. A good manager takes those shifts. There are restaurants in town where you see the owners out on the floor, busing tables and cleaning up messes. These restaurants have a very good chance of making it. When a manager thinks they’ve achieved a place of authority where they can tell others what to do there are big problems ahead. When the manager dives in to the worst job, or takes the worst shifts and cheerfully goes about their work it sets a high bar for service.
We have a problem at the Co-op. We’ve encouraged people to follow their passions in the world, to serve others, and to focus outside the church walls to do so. They have responded enthusiastically! This makes it a bit hard to find people to serve on committees. Not many people feel it is the best use of their gifts to do administrative work in the church (though we are very thankful that some do!) This new reality must now be reflected in the structure of the Co-op. When we joined our two congregations together, we streamlined the administrative structure back as far as theUnitedMethodistChurchrules would allowed. Since then the national structure has recognized the need for more responsive leadership systems and made it possible to be even more focused in our administration.
Quotes for the Week
A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be. ~Rosalynn Carter:
Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.
As we look ahead into the 21st Century, leaders will be those who empower others.
If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’
1st Corinthians 9:16-23 (The Message)
If I proclaim the Message, it’s not to get something out of it for myself. I’m compelled to do it, and doomed if I don’t! If this was my own idea of just another way to make a living, I’d expect some pay. But since it’s not my idea but something solemnly entrusted to me, why would I expect to get paid? So am I getting anything out of it? Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don’t even have to pay my expenses!
19-23Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
Gospel Lesson, Mark 1:32-39 (NRSV)
32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39 And he went throughoutGalilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Questions for the Week
What are your passions in life? What kinds of activities energize you?
Where might your passions meet up with the world’s great needs?
Where in your life are you struggling with the issue of authority? What authority do you have, and how do you exercise that authority?