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Paul on Leadership – Part III

Week 3: A Leader has Purpose and Passion: Acts 14:8 – 23

Welcome back my friends, hopefully by now you are growing your confidence of God’s calling to leadership and hopefully you have begun listening to the Spirit more closely for his direction and guidance. As you continue to listen and hear there are some other characteristics we find in Paul that are important to take serious and put into practice as we lead others. We will return once again to the Book of Acts to see Paul in action and learn from the way in which he leads. Today we will look at Acts chapter fourteen verses eight to twenty-three and we will notice some important characteristics that all leaders must posses.

Here is this amazing story about Paul and Barnabas at work again and the story begins with Paul speaking. It is understood he is speaking about God. There was a man listening who had never walked before and Paul notices this man has a glimmer of faith. This man hears Paul’s message and as a result he hoped to be healed as Calvin explains it. Paul recognizes this and by the Spirit’s power heals the man, and it was such a remarkable event that the people thought Paul and Barnabas were god’s and began preparing to make a sacrifice to them. When Paul and Barnabas recognize this, they respond in a typical Jewish way by tearing their garments because what they were hearing was blasphemy and then communicating the truth of God to the people. After doing so, a group of Jews arrived who had been searching for them and stoned Paul. Once they thought Paul was dead they dragged him out of the city and left him there, but we find Paul was not dead and returns to the city after preaching the Gospel at another city. He returns once again to the place where he was stoned and left for dead to continue to preach, to teach, and to strengthen the young church there.

What an awesome story, but what do we gain about leadership from this story? There are two major characteristic that present themselves in this passage; that a leader is passionate and a leader is purposeful. We see this is a couple of different places, first we see Paul’s passion for his calling in the way he responds to the people when they mistake his purpose for being there. In addition, it takes unbelievable passion to be stoned to the point that you were considered dead and then come back and continues the work of the gospel in the same place. That is amazing passion. What type of passion do you have about what God is calling you to as a leader? If everything falls apart will you simply give up or will continue the work of the gospel? What level is too much for you to continue in the role of leadership that God calls you to? We must be like Paul who is literally willing to put his life on the line for the sake of the gospel. We must not give up or give in when things get difficult but we must be passionately committed to our calling and persevere through the difficult times. Are you passionately committed?

The other aspect we see clearly is that Paul’s leadership has a purpose and that he is purposeful in the way he leads. I truly believe that Paul notices the lame man’s glimmer of faith because he is purposeful in his ministry. He is there looking for where God is at work, he is there speaking about faith and soul’s being healed. However, he does not just speak about it he looks for God’s activity and when he sees it he moves for the purpose of God’s glory and man’s redemption. If he were not being purposeful in his ministry, then he most likely would not have even noticed that man’s desire to be healed. There have been times in my life that I missed opportunities that God wanted for me to respond to because I was not focused on God’s purpose for my life. I missed some of those conversations and opportunities to point people to Jesus, but I encourage you my friends to focus on God’s purpose for you that you may not miss those kinds of opportunities as I did. I desire to be more like Paul and my hope is that you will as well.

We also see this in Paul’s response to people when they want to give him the recognition and accolades for healing the man. Paul quickly speaks to and points to God as the source and not Paul. Paul’s purpose for being there was for Jesus to be glorified and not for Paul to be recognized. When you step out in leadership, it will be tempting at times to receive all the recognition and the accolades for what God does through you, but we must always remember that the purpose is to point to Jesus.

Finally, we see this through Paul’s returning to the city, even if it costs him his life, God’s purpose for those people to know God and for God to be glorified is more important than even Paul’s life. Hopefully you will never have to make that decision but my hope is that if you ever do you will be ready.

A leader must be passionate about the call and vision God has given him or her and a leader must be purposeful about seeing that vision out at all times. My question for you is, are you that kind of leader? Are you ready to be? You may not be sure what God is calling you to at this moment, but at this moment you can commit to follow Jesus as a passionate and purposeful leader? Will you?

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