Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

God's Example To Godly Leaders

Acts 20:32-35
'Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."' (NIVUK)

Handing over the baton of leadership is not easy. Inevitably those who follow will not be so experienced in handling difficult circumstances. Paul's leadership of the Ephesian church was over (Acts 20:25), so the elders would now be fully responsible, to protect the church and promote Christ through it. They not only had to keep a watch over the church, but also over themselves (Acts 20:28). How could they stay true to Christ and defend the church from false teaching? Only by the elders being directly responsible to God and submitting to His Word.

Despite Paul's absence they, and the church, could grow and be confident in God's eternal security. It is only by His grace that they could be saved; and through His grace they would be kept until they received the inheritance reserved for God's people (Ephesians 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3-5). The inheritance is all that God will give His children who trust in Christ; the most precious part of that is to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Some people given leadership responsibility expect their followers to serve them. Paul's example was very different. He served the church, not asking for money or clothing. As a tentmaker he earned enough to supply his daily needs and those of his team. He worked hard at that job as well as in teaching (2 Thessalonians 3:8). It was an example he expected the elders to follow, lest the church would resent a demanding leadership or the gospel message be compromised.

It is not easy to be godly; and even more difficult to be a godly leader. Even the Apostle Paul found that (Romans 7:14-25). But it is helpful to see how hard work, a giving and undemanding spirit, helping the poor and weak – provide an important antidote to the pride which so easily rises within us. It also makes us more dependent on God's grace. It is right that a leader should work hard and share what he has earned. If you are a leader the question is, "What example of humble godliness are you setting those who you are training?". And if you aspire to any kind of leadership, are you a servant in your heart and actions (Matthew 20:28)?

God of grace. Thank You for Your initiative in loving me and drawing me to welcome Jesus as I heard the gospel explained. Forgive me for being proud and expecting that people should serve me, when Jesus and the apostles served others sacrificially. Please help me to learn godly living, and be able to set a good example for those who I am influencing. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams