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Paul on Leadership – Part V

Week 5: A Leader is Humble: Acts 21:17 – 26

Here we find ourselves rapidly bringing our quick exploration into leadership coming to a close. We have traveled far together in looking at things we see through the life of Paul as demonstrated in the book of Acts that leaders should posses. We have discovered that a leader must be called, a leader must have vision, a leader must have passion and purpose, and a leader must be a teacher. Now this final week I am certain you would love for me to tell you the secret of how to get people to do what you want them to do or how to do amazing miracles as the apostles performed, however, what we find this week may surprise you, and may answer those questions as well. We will be glancing today in Acts once again at chapter twenty-one in verses seventeen through twenty-six.

Here we find Paul returning once again to Jerusalem and meeting with James and the elders of the church in Jerusalem, but we find what I see as a surprising turn of events in Paul’s story. He meets with them and they are concerned about the reputation Paul has been gaining in that they have heard Paul is telling Jews to forsake the law. The leaders knew this was not true, but that Paul had always stood for the rights of the gentiles in not submitting themselves to the law and so they asked Paul to go through a purifying ritual to demonstrate his love for the Jewish people and the law.

What does this show us about leadership? Clearly it demonstrates to us that Paul is an unbelievably humble man. He did not need to answer to the leaders in Jerusalem, he did not need to go through a purification process for his ministry, but he humbly submitted himself to the leaders there and did what that asked to improve the relationship with the Jewish people. What unbelievable humility, Paul was literally willing to do whatever he needed to do, as long as it did not violate the foundation of the faith, to win over the confidence of the Jewish people and Jewish believers especially.

My friends if you want to lead people you must be a humble servant of Jesus and the people you hope to lead. Paul arrived at Jerusalem in hopes to unify the Gentile and Jewish believers and to do so he needed to humble himself before the very people he was hoping to lead into unity. Not to mention that Paul’s willingness to participate in their request is how he ultimately gets arrested by the Jews. Paul demonstrates the same servants heart that Jesus demonstrated and we must also take up this humble spirit if we have any hope to ever lead people for the sake of the kingdom.

In addition, if you ever hope to be used by God to bring about a modern day miracle, be it leading someone into the faith, be a part of a healing, or growing a ministry then you must be willing to humble yourself before God. God desires to use you as his vessel, but you must empty yourself from your vessel so that he can fill you with himself. If you are pouring out yourself for people it will do them no good, but if you are pouring out God’s living water then they just might experience God’s presence through him using you.

Trust me, sometimes this means taking steps you never intended to take, just like Paul in this situation. Sometimes it means choosing to submit to others even though you do not have to just as Paul does. Are you willing for the area in leadership you are moving into to be about Jesus more then it is ever about you? Are you willing to allow it to be about others more then it is about you? Are you willing to take the bottom of the ladder being the one that holds the others up while you stand on God’s foundation so that he can be glorified? If you are not willing to humble yourself then you are not ready for leadership, but if you are then lets move forward together and allow God to use us however he desires.

Conclusion

As our time together comes to a close there is really only one thing to do now, and that is to go as James says and be doers of the word and not just hearers. We know a little more about what it looks like and what it takes, now we must step out in faith and allow God to lead us as we hope to be used by him to lead others. Are you ready my friends? Will you leave and continue to just be part of the crowd or will you take a stand before God and for God? Will you respond to his call and begin to lead? The time is now, the day is today, let us be found faithful now and we will see in the process if God will give us tomorrow to be found faithful in also.

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