A Lunar Lesson in Spiritual Leadership (Part 3)

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Good Biblical Examples of Those Who Avoided Becoming a “Soular Eclipse”

So what about some good examples in the Bible? Are there people who avoided this pitfall? You bet there are! Here’s some folks that sidestepped the debacle of becoming a “Soular Eclipse.”

Gideon – Judges 6-8.23

The Midianites were so oppressive that the Children of Israel described them like “locusts” that would come in and devastate the land. Israel had to hide their crops from their marauding war parties because the enemy would steal everything in sight. Gideon was doing just that. He was hiding in a wine press beating out wheat. The Angel of the LORD shows up and addresses him as “Mighty Warrior!” Gideon must of looked around and pointed to himself saying, “Who me? Uh, you got the wrong guy. You see if I were so mighty I wouldn’t be hiding in a wine press sucking up all this dust by beating wheat in an enclosed area. No, you’re looking Amieluhad down the street.” Fast forward a little bit of time and we see that Gideon was indeed a “mighty warrior” as the angel said. He had several successful military campaigns under his belt against an overwhelming adversary. He had evidently grown into quite the leader because the people come to him and say; “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” (Judges 8.22) Gideon saw it coming. The temptation was right in front of him and he responds; “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.” (Judges 8.23) He sidestepped the alluring offer and took his rightful place in being a simple reflection of God’s glory.

John the Baptist – John 3.22-30

So Jesus and John were baptizing people in the same region because there was plenty of water. John’s disciples are looking over their shoulders and notice Jesus and His guys are baptizing a lot more people than John. I can picture them coming to John with their bottom lip puffed out and pouting; “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” (v26) Now John has some choices to make. “Let’s see here, we could beat the bushes harder and scare up some more baptizees, or double down on our advertising, or yeah, I got it! We could demonize Jesus’ ministry (like the Scribes and Pharisees) and rake in the poor miss guided sheep for ourselves. I mean, how am I going to justify my worth to the people following me?” No. That would be the way we might respond. Not John. He sees the “Soular Eclipse” coming a mile away. Notice he uses a different metaphor to explain the same concept.

A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3.27-30)

John uses the contrast between Bridegroom and His friend. It’s not for the friend to try to steal the show on the Bridegrooms wedding day. Nope, all attention is focused on the Bride and the Groom. But certainly all the smiling and joyful faces of the wedding party are a reflection of the new couples matrimony. John the Baptist is no “Soular Eclipse.”

Peter – 1 Peter 5.1-11

I love to review Peter’s journey as a leader. It’s so relatable to my own journey. Peter, the strong, rough and ready fisherman. Peter, a natural born leader with a lot of rough edges. Peter, Ready, Fire, Aim. Peter, Open mouth, Insert foot. Peter, the rebuker of the Son of God (Yikes). And lastly, Peter the Denier of Jesus and the Restored by the Same. As we watch this young leader through the gospels we see him failing forward. By the Book of Acts, he is a changed man, although not perfect. (Gal 2.11-14) But I think the absolute crescendo of Peter’s leadership development is found in his address to the elders in his first letter. (1 Peter 5.1-11)

He starts with an exhortation to the elders and the most important part is that even sandwiched in between his credentials you find this very significant statement; “as your fellow elder.” Peter didn’t have to add that part. He had position as the Apostle of the Apostles. He could have easily postured himself as the big kahuna! But he doesn’t. He exhorts them as an equal, a fellow elder.

And what is the content of this exhortation? Pointers from his well documented failures. Let’s pick them out of the text.

Exhortation (1 Peter 5.2-11)Previous Failure and/or Restoration
Shepherd the flock of God among you (v 2a)Remember the discussion on the Sea of Galilee after Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus? “Peter do you love Me, Feed my sheep.” (John 21.15-17)
exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God (v 2b)Remember when Jesus rebukes Peter; “Get behind me Satan. You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Matthew 16.23)
nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge (v 3a) Remember the disciples arguing about “Who’s among them was the greatest?” Jesus responds with, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant… (Matthew 20.25-26)
But proving to be examples to the flock (v 3b) Remember when Jesus is setting an example of servant leadership by washing the disciples feet and Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Embarrassed and afraid Peter responds, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” (John 13.5-11)
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (v 5-6) Remember when Jesus tells His disciples they will abandon Him and Peter pipes in Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You. I will go to death with You…” and then he denies Him. (Matthew 26.31-35) Jesus’s prediction came true.
casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (v 7)Remember when Jesus talked about true discipleship being willing to give up all you have and Peter was a bit worried about his reward? He asks Jesus,What about us? We’ve left everything and followed You?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19.27-29) What will we get? 100 Fold in this life and the life to come.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (v 8) Remember when Jesus told Peter; Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22.31-32) Certainly, he has these words ringing in his ears.
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (v 9-10)And finally, remember when Peter did fail so miserably and yet Jesus, the God of all grace, restores him by the Sea of Galilee by once again giving him identity and purpose and commands him (once again) “Follow Me.” (John 21.19)

I’m sure Peter reflected on these things in his life. He saw the circle being completed over and over again. Jesus restores, gives purpose, and launches him into new levels of leadership and fruitfulness. But he is always being reminded; He is God and we are not. He is perfect and we are not. Point people to Him. Peter had some things to say about leadership but most of it came out of previous defeats and failure. He had been bloodied in combat and he is instructing his fellow soldiers; avoid these tactical mistakes. And the biggest mistakes he made is when he got to big for his britches and almost becomes a “Soular Eclipse.” He ends up being humbled and getting out of the way of the Son.

To be continued…

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

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