Christian leaders can be some of the most ambitious people on earth! God designed some of us for this – but we must know our limits. Our ambitions need the guidance and guardrails of wisdom and humility before God. John the Baptist was called to be the forerunner of Christ to prepare the way of the Lord. After a few years of great “success” and popularity, John was left with only a handful of followers. When he was asked by his followers what to do with the lack of growth in ministry, John replied, “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27). His evaluation led him to accept that he should not push to change the results. He made decisions based on faithfulness, not success. He lived as a called person.
Ironically John the Baptist’s faithfulness led him to a reduced role, not a greater one. He knew his limits because he knew his callings.
He stayed within his limits because he trusted and loved his Lord most. May the Lord give each of us discernment as we evaluate the following biblical principles for ministry leaders.
Question 1: ARE YOU TOO BUSY?
Principle 1: Called leaders accept that they are owned and limited by God, not free to do as they will.
Do you believe you are too busy? Do other people in your life believe you are too busy, saying things like, “You work too hard; you put in too many hours?” If so, what is driving this? Is God calling you to this? If not, what changes are needed at the heart and habit levels? What steps can you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for the grace to understand, and apply David’s humility before God as a solution to overworking.”
“LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and forever.” (Psalm 131)
Question 2: ARE YOU OVER-RESPONSIBLE?
Principle 2: Called leaders deeply depend upon God, not their efforts, for the results.
Do you acknowledge your utter dependence upon God through regular prayer as you seek to accomplish work projects and goals? Are your prayers characterized as both thankful for past blessings and specific for current needs? If not, what changes are needed at heart and habit levels? What steps will you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for grace to understand, and apply the following truths about God as a solution to self-reliance and worry.
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:1–2)
Question 3: DO YOU LACK DILIGENCE?
Principle 3: Called leaders diligently labor at their work, possessing the highest work ethic on earth.
Do you work hard at making your product or service the best that you can produce for your clients’ good and your Master’s glory? If not, what changes are needed at the heart and habit levels? What steps will you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for grace to understand, and apply the following truths as a solution to half-hearted efforts.
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22–24)
Question 4: ARE YOU EARTHLY MINDED?
Principle 4: Called leaders are driven most by eternal and internal gains promised by the Lord, not by temporal gains which in time turn to dust.
Do you regularly stir your affections for the greater rewards through recalling to mind the glories of heaven and of becoming more like Christ? Is your passion for these things practically seen in your use of time, talents, and treasures? If not, what changes are needed at the heart and habit levels? What steps will you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for grace to understand, and apply the following truths as a solution.
Driven by Eternal Gains –
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
Driven by Internal Gains –
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Founder and Executive Director of the Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center
Tim Bryant founded the Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center in Charleston, South Carolina in 2003 and has served as its Executive Director ever since. LCBCC is committed to reaching pastors, churches and the hurting community with the sufficiency and solutions of Christ. LCBCC strives to minister, mentor, and multiply because people matter to God and His glory in Christ. Currently, LCBCC has a team of about 25 people, many of whom are either certified counselors or volunteer team counselors. Tim’s counseling and speaking ministry have been used to help many couples and families struggling with intense interpersonal conflict, as well as many individuals seeking to overcome personal problems such as depression, anxiety, anger, bitterness, addiction, and guilt. Prior to founding LCBCC, Tim served as a pastor for ten years in the Chicagoland area. He holds his Master’s in Biblical Counseling from the Master’s University (California), and is certified by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). Tim and his wife, Erin, have four children.
For More Resources, contact LCBCC at http://www.lcbcc.org.