Warning: Transparency Alert :)
1Pe 5:1-7 ESV
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (5) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Have any of you ever "held on too tight?" By God's grace I've had a couple of weeks to reflect, pray, and take another look at where I am with the Lord. I've realized that if I'm going to "finish my race," I need to become pretty good at casting my anxieties on Him. I won't finish otherwise.
Regardless of the sphere of Kingdom leadership, I'm learning that if there is not a continual "dying to self," a constant refocusing on Christ, and a surrendering of leadership (and those you lead) back to God over and over again, so many bad things can occur:
- Loss of joy and faith
- And the one that gets me the most: a continual anxiety and insecurity that drains the joy from ministry.
For many months after my father passed away, I was actually dreading Sundays! I walked into my church nervous. "Is this the day the message is rejected?" "Who is going to leave this week?" "Will I make it to my car before I get more bad news?" It began to take a real effort to leave my office to enter the sanctuary. Seriously.
Now yes...some of that is the devil. No doubt. But some of that is just me: a weak, sinful, fragile man who began to focus a bit too much on himself and how he felt and not enough on Christ. The Lord showed me this clearly in His Word and prayer.
It is to Christ alone that glory belongs. It is to Christ alone that we will answer! It is Christ alone that opens the hearts of His people to hear. It is Christ alone who must be preached. And it is Christ alone who grows, holds, and advances His church!
So to all the anxieties I've sinfully held on to, I cast them upon Christ. I'm so glad He cares!
To CRCC...I ask your forgiveness for any flesh I've allowed in the pulpit...whether you realized it or not. And to CRCC...we again pledge to place Christ at the center...not just in our words (which I think we've done) but also in our motivations (the hard part of leadership). In our desire to Reach, Teach, and Release people, we will attempt that God's way. We will hold to Scripture with as much love as we can muster. We will take our lumps when they come but we will be faithful!
So dear reader, what about you? Could you stand to do a little "casting" today? :) :)
Proverbs 12:25 ESV - Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.