Jesus launches into a scathing rebuke of the religious leaders around Him at the dinner table of a local Pharisee (see Luke 11:37-52). This passage begins a list of seven failures that these leaders experienced. The following continues the list of six failures that are prefaced with a dire warning, “Woe to you…”
Here’s #7 – “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” v 52 (NIV 1984)
These leaders were accused by Jesus of hindering the personal growth and development of others by not providing opportunities for them and by not modeling it themselves.
As Kingdom leaders, we are responsible for the growth and development of those we lead. Yes, each individual is ultimately responsible for their own maturation, but leaders can create opportunities for growth for those around them. We can provide a ‘buffet line’ of resources to choose from for those we lead, for their own development. We can create an environment where growth is expected and valued.
Additionally, we can model life-long learning to those around us. One never ‘arrives’ and leaders who continue a lifetime of learning will inspire and motivate others to do the same. Nothing is more discouraging to personal growth than having a ‘plateaued learner’ as their leader.
But, Jesus’ accusation goes a step further, for these leaders were not just passive in their poor example, but He said that they hindered others by their leadership. It wasn’t that they themselves had not entered into the Kingdom, but they actively hindered others from doing so.
James reminds those who would be teachers, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1 (NIV 1984) The author of Hebrews reminds leaders of their accountability to the Lord when he says, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.” Hebrews 13:17 (NIV 1984)
Leadership and its accompanying authority carries with it a sobering reality that we will be accountable for what we did with our leadership. Did we accomplish the mission? Did we care well for those under our charge? And, did we seek to develop them, maximizing their potential?
What’s new that you’ve recently learned?