Inspiring New Leadership For Old Challenges: Part 2
The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few
He’s saying that the laborers are few, so we need some more leaders out here to help direct things. As we move out, we want to multiply the leaders.
When I look at the issues we’re facing in the urban centers of our cities, we don’t have enough people. Part of my thinking is that if we can help these young people to become leaders, then, they can lead their peers–the folks that a part of their circle. We, in a sense, begin to multiply and achieve what Christ is asking us to pray for which is that we have more laborers or leaders or people who are involved with the needs of people.
I think it’s a good launching pad as it relates to our relationship to people and the place in which we will minister. We will share as Jesus did in terms of teaching. I think, when we talk about Jesus’ teaching that he is saying there’s a loving God as well as a forgiving God. I think these things address the spiritual condition of people.
If we are talking only about physical healing and never talk about the spiritual healing that’s needed we do a disservice to the people we want to serve. Bear in mind, we want to do whatever we can physically to help, but we also want to help touch the spiritual life of a young person. And maybe, by God’s grace, He gives us the tools or resources to be able to help physically.
That’s the excitement. We will go out not only with this compassion but a willingness to help the spiritual health and condition of folks as well as utilize whatever skills and talents have been given to deal with the physical side of things because there are great physical needs.
Let’s go to Matthew 28:16. This is the Great Commission known by most Christians.
This is verse 16:
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain, which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
This is the last command of Jesus. Think of it–you’ve had an opportunity to do missionary work in India. Now, God has called you back home to America and you’re leaving all the people you’ve been with for the last three years. As you leave, you leave them with these parting words. Wouldn’t you say that those parting words would probably be really important to the people that you left?
Put that in the context of Chapter 28. Jesus is getting ready to go back to the Father. He’s been with these guys for about three years. He’s eaten with them, done miracles, and taught them–this cast of characters from various backgrounds and dispositions.
He’s been with them but still has that ‘doubting Thomas’ there. He’s got Peter who’s saying, “How can I be a leader? Look what I did to Jesus.” You’ve got all of these mixed feelings going on, and he’s getting ready to leave. They’re scratching their heads and saying, ‘what’s happening?’ These words that Jesus gives then are just as relevant today, and he’s telling his disciples some very important things that stay with us today.
Verse 19 says:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. . .
That little section shows that God wants us to go out and make leaders. When Jesus went back to Heaven, the disciples were the ones who went out and lead and told people about God.
It’s clearly so important to God for us to be leaders and be leading.
In your passage it says “all nations” which can be translated to “all ethnic groups.”
Think about the city and how much diversity is in there, how many people speak our language, or come from America? In the city, you’ve got this mixture of ethnic groups that have come together in some way or another. God is giving us great opportunity to reach out to the nations and different ethnic groups that exist.
If you look at Verse 17, it says:
When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
We know the story. We’re all going to have that inept battle, but it is a command. There are many that do worship, but you’re going to have a little bit of that. There’s going to be that gut feeling sometimes that you don’t want to go up to that guy and go the extra step.
I think that’s always been in this passage–how do I become a disciple or a leader? It’s written right there.
When I look at this it’s a command. Therefore, we are instructed by our Lord to do it. If He’s truly Lord of our lives, then this is His instruction for us.
Our problem is how we communicate what He’s asked us to do. That becomes our problem. We have this structure, which we find ourselves in. Sometimes it’s a theological ‘box,’ and if we don’t check each one of these boxes we have achieved what needs to be achieved.
I think, in part, what God is asking us is to share the truth in love. I think people want to hear the truth in the mere fact that Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” It’s a matter of sharing Christ, and it’s a way in which we can share that doesn’t cause people to bristle up and reject what we’re saying. If we can say it in a loving manner, they might not always accept it but they’re willing to hear. And in listening, maybe we’re able to develop a relationship that gives us the right to speak into the lives of other folks.
It’s making disciples. That’s the objective. If we’re making disciples, we’re not making disciples that follow us. We’re making disciples that follow Christ. If that, indeed, is the case, the question is how do we make disciples?
Remember, Jesus lived life with them day in and day out. He woke up with them in the morning and went and slept in the same place at night. We through the New Testament and in the scriptures of Jesus Christ teaching them the basics of life back down to learning how to pray.
Keep in mind as we go out that, as leaders, we are to be gracious. We are to be ministers of grace toward others, and people can appreciate that. We also have to be understanding with those we have contact with and remember the human condition.
When we talk about dealing with the same challenges, that’s the condition of human beings. It hasn’t changed from Adam. We’re still deceitful. We’re still disobeying God. We’re still separated from God. That condition hasn’t changed even though we’ve got cell phones, computers, and all of these modern things. Human behavior has not changed at all.
What Jesus had to address 2,000 years ago is what we as leaders today have to address. And we have to address it like Jesus–with compassion, love, grace, and asking God to give us the right words to say.
It’s important when he says:
. . .lo, I am with you always. . .
If he says ‘always,’ it’s not when he comes back. Each day we can be in the presence of God. In being in His presence, He can give us the words to say. Jesus said to his disciples, “I must go through Samaria.” There was a reason Jesus went through Samaria. I think we have to remember the fact that sometimes God sends us certain places because he wants to use us in that place to change the life of someone else.
As we come out of our comfort zone and wherever we have lived, we come to a place that is not necessarily familiar to us. As leaders, we are to share the same compassion, grace, and to be influenced by the Holy Spirit so that we can touch and transform the lives of others.
As we look at Transformational Leadership, it’s important to know that we can’t transform anybody, but we can be the instruments that God uses that the lives of others might be transformed. That’s the exciting thing–when we finish at the end of the summer to look back and say not what I did but what God did!