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“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry”.
It is high time we revisit how we think about leadership and reshape the narrative on how we describe it. Leadership is an essential aspect of any movement. It is quite irreplaceable when you really think about it. A lack of leadership could lead to disorder, stunt the growth of an organization, or cause movements to become stagnant.
Looking at the current American election cycle, it has become evident that a sizable portion of this country is frustrated with congressional and presidential leadership. There is an overwhelming sense of distrust and extreme caution when it comes to the average citizen’s view of government. I sometimes wonder if we go to the ballot box and choose leaders because it is a constitutional responsibility or because we sincerely see the value in having a leader. We shouldn’t ignore the facts that Millennials, who make up the largest voting bloc, were drawn to Bernie Sanders’ antiestablishment tone. Even Donald Trump has found a way to harness the frustration of masses of conservative voters who would truly love to see government broken up and diffused.
What is the motivation behind these factions? Is there a part of us that has a knee-jerk disdain for all types of authority, no matter what form or shape? Everybody wants to lead and nobody wants to follow. And the leaders among us don’t want to lead together; we all want to do our own separate things.
Sometimes I feel like we are reliving the tragedy of Israel’s story during the era of the judges. The Bible describes every person as doing what was right in his or her own eyes. No accoutability, no order…and thus Israel’s vulnerabilities were constantly exposed and exploited.
Leadership brings cohesion, empowerment, progress, and protection. Yet, greatest of all, leadership helps preserve successful ideals and systems for future use. In fact, I would dare say that preserving and passing on successful ideals is the ultimate function of true leadership. What lessons are we teaching those who walk beside us? Are we passing on responsibilities in a way that adequately prepares the next generation to lead? Do we take the time to give a charge to the leaders who will carry on the work when we are long gone?
We see a great example of this valuable aspect of leadership in the relationship of Timothy and Paul. Timothy was a young pastor who often accompanied Apostle Paul on many of his missions and journeys across the world. Timothy saw first-hand the ridicule and hardships that befell the Apostle…yet he also saw the triumphs and victories that Paul experienced. Paul knew the value of apprenticeship and giving a charge. Timothy respected the value of learning and Paul’s leadership.
2 Timothy is Paul’s letter, from prison, to his successor. The apostle understood that his time on earth was drawing to a close, and he sought to seal his teachings in the young apprentice by giving him a charge. This charge has 4 main parts that are as applicable to today’s leaders as they were to Timothy. My next four devotions will develop the discussion on each of these elements, while also tying them to the overall theme of equipping the next generation. Sound leadership secures future successes by identifying and pouring into successors.
Perhaps you’ve never thought of yourself as a leader, but you certainly are. Since you are a leader, it is time for you to consider how you will preserve the important lessons and ideologies that have led to your greatest successes. It is time for you to identify your Timothy, live as the model example, and provide a charge that releases them to take the vision to the next level.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you define leadership?
Who is your “Paul”?
Can you identify your Timothy?
What is your plan to preserve the vision for the next generation of leaders?
In what ways can you become a more transparent leader to your Timothy?
God, we are about to delve into a new study on preserving leadership. I pray that you enlighten our minds with the knowledge of your will. Refresh our visions and awaken dreams that have long lie dormant. Show us the path to true leadership, as we steward over your kingdom works in the earth. In return, we will be faithful to your call and those whom we lead. Thank you for your love in bestowing such trust in us to further your kingdom. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: 2 Timothy 3:1–9.
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