Unhealthy Relationships in Ministry (Part 3): The Biblical Model is one of overflow

Over the years as a pastor, I have received literally hundreds and hundreds of advertisements for leadership conferences.  One particular example is still etched in my memory!  It was sent out to pastors and was announcing and promoting an upcoming leadership conference.

The cover read in bold letters:  “How do you increase your influence and capacity to lead?  How can your ministry be positioned for promotion?” 

Everywhere you look these days it seems everything is about “taking YOUR ministry to the next level”.  I mean, look at it right here: “How can your ministry be positioned for promotion?”

Now I am not denying that God promised to bless and increase Abraham.  And we get in on the blessings of Abraham in Jesus.  This is not in question.  But what is in question is our motives and methods for achieving these “blessings”!

They might as well have said, “Come, we’ll give you the tools to make everything and everybody move where you want them to move so you can be promoted.  Do you want to know how you can sit on the right or left hand of Jesus in the kingdom?  Come, we’ll teach you.  Do you want to learn how to call fire down on the Samaritans that are hindering your vision of ministry?” 

You know, that’s what James and John did.  The Samaritans wouldn’t give them hospitality.  The “sons of thunder” had an agenda.  They were on their way to Jerusalem to set up a new government (or so they thought).  They came through Samaria but the Samaritans wouldn’t even give them even a cup of water.  “Jesus, do you want us to call fire down on them?” , they asserted.  But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what spirit you are of.  I didn’t come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.  I didn’t come to take from people or to use people.  I came to serve people and to give my life as a ransom.” 

That’s a totally different spirit!

That’s the Biblical model of leadership: giving, not receiving.

That’s the Biblical model of Spirit-filled life: giving, because you’ve already received everything you need.  You’ve found contentment, rest, and peace.  Now you can give and people don’t suck you dry because it’s not an agenda or a plan that you are working.  It’s an overflow of a hidden life with Him.

In the next post we will look at Hagar’s lesson in this matter.

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