I read a daily devotion by Charles Spurgeon and his entry for September 15th was deeply challenging. I have paraphrased it here specifically to address us as steward leaders, leaving his actual words in quotations.
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings. ~Psalms 112:7
As steward leaders, we must not fear bad news. If we do, if bad news shakes us up and disturbs us, then how are we different from leaders who have no faith in Christ? Leaders who don’t know Christ lack the certainty of his presence, the solace of prayer or a history of seeing God’s faithfulness worked out in their lives and work. No wonder they are burdened and anxious when bad news comes.
But, as a follower of Christ, you profess to live through the power of the Holy Spirit. You have been given new birth into a living hope and your heart is focused on things above not things below. If, after all this, you respond to bad news with the same attitudes as those who have no faith, what value does God’s grace and promises really have for you? “Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?”
Let me say it another way. If bad news and the prospect of challenging days fills you with alarm, you will face the temptation of responding to it just as a leader would who had no faith in Christ. When people outside the faith face troubling times, they grumble against God and wonder why these difficulties have fallen on them. They accuse God of dealing harshly with them. Will you do the same? Will your actions and attitudes in the face of bad news provoke God as though you had no faith in him at all?
Leaders who don’t follow Christ often respond to tough times by seizing control themselves, trying to escape by means of their own skills or cleverness or experience. They put their trust in everything but God, believing they can overcome the problems without him. If your attitudes in difficult times are no different from the unbelieving leader, what will keep you from adopting the same actions to solve them? Instead, “Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, Stand still and see the salvation of God.”
If you respond to troubling times with fear, anxiety and dread, you won’t be able to lead with steady nerves and a calm composure that will sustain you and bear witness to your certainty in God’s faithfulness. “How can you glorify God if you play the coward?”
Throughout the centuries faithful leaders have remained steadfast through the greatest of struggles, some even singing God’s praises from a burning stake. How will your doubting and despairing in this present difficulty bring glory and honor to God?
“Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
My thanks to Charles Spurgeon for speaking truth. Courage, trust, faith and confidence are the marks of a steward leader in the face of difficult times.
I pray these may be the marks of your leadership today.
Dr. R. Scott Rodin as been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for twenty-five years. He has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the country and in Canada and Great Britain including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at Kingdom Life Publishing.
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