Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Faithfulness”

Leading with an Eternal Value System

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:14-15 NIV)

In Luke 16, Jesus has a lot to say about money, how to manage it well, and warnings about how it can entangle your heart. How we steward the money God entrusts to us will determine whether the Lord can entrust us with more Kingdom responsibility. For the management of money is a little thing in light of the world, but a big thing when we talk about Kingdom values.

Kingdom leaders live and lead from an eternal value system; one that sees money as a wonderful tool to advance the Gospel, but a terrible master that can grab our hearts. Jesus reminds us that, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV)

Luke, a Gentile who did not grow up with the Jewish Pharisees, adds this commentary concerning their values – they loved money! What a reputation for ones who are supposed to be God’s representatives, pointing people to Him. Note that Jesus says they justified their love of money to others. No doubt saying that they needed their great wealth and pursuit of it for righteous causes. But God knows our hearts. He knows our true motives – our temporal values that seek comfort and luxury in this world. The world says, “He who dies with the largest pile wins!” Jesus says, ” What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”

Now let’s be clear. Money in and of itself has no moral value – it’s not good, bad, or purple. It’s our hearts attitude towards money that makes it useful or evil. If we fall in love with money, prioritizing it in our lives and leadership decisions, then it becomes a snare.

Kingdom leaders need money to accomplish our God-given mission. Jesus’ mission was supported by the generous gifts of several faithful women (see Luke 8). Paul gratefully received the financial and physical support of several of the local churches he helped establish. But it is how we handle these resources that reveals our hearts. Judas was the treasurer for the Twelve, “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:6 NIV)

Contrast Judas’ behavior with that of Paul regarding the handling of an offering for the poor believers in Jerusalem. “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” (2 Corinthians 8:20-21 NIV) Paul went the extra mile to avoid any accusation of mismanagement of God’s resources.

How are your checks and balances regarding money and its use in your leadership? Who is making sure that you are acting in a way that is above reproach?

Is your heart filled with an eternal value system or one that has become entangled in the world’s temporal values?

The Other Side of God’s Promises

But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers.  And none of those who despised me shall see it. … I, the LORD, have spoken.  Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.    Numbers 14:21-23, 35  ESV

We love to emphasize the goodness and generosity of God demonstrated by His faithful fulfillment of His promises to those who receive them by faith.  He does meet our needs, grant us desires according to His good and perfect will for us and do above and beyond what we could ever ask or imagine.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable grace poured out upon us through faith in Christ!

But there is another side to this topic that is often neglected; one that is rooted in the same character of God that we love so much.  Yes, the Lord is faithful to fulfill His promises – all His promises.  And He promises to bring retribution and justice on those who disobey Him, those who willfully put Him to the test and rebel against Him.

In the above passage we note that God had promised those who He delivered from the bondage of Egypt a Promised Land inheritance.  But when the 12 spies returned with their report after completing their forty-day mission, ten (the majority) spread fear, doubt and disobedience regarding their future.  Two, Joshua and Caleb (the minority) reminded all that though there were challenges in occupying the land, the land was all that God promised and that one with God is a majority!

The people chose to believe the majority report, disobeyed God and received the consequences of their disobedience.  God promised them that there would be severe consequences for their disobedience and He was faithful to His promises.

The justice of God demands that He never ignore disobedience or show partiality, for to do so would be injustice and contrary to His very nature.  He will and does punish sin.  Let us tremble at that reality and praise Him that we are delivered from His wrath by grace in Christ.  For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!  (Hebrews 10:31)

May we who lead others, remind those we influence about the promises and faithfulness of God.  May we be true to the whole message of God’s faithfulness, the pleasant and ‘not so pleasant’ realities and warn others of the consequences for disobedience.

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.   Exodus 23:2  NIV

“But my righteous one will live by faith.  And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”  But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.    Hebrews 10:38-39  NIV

Leading with Courage – 5

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!               Psalm 27:14 (ESV)

The power of modeling courage is not hard to imagine.  One leader who leads courageously will encourage others to do the same.  You can be catalytic in your courageous leadership.  Below are several examples of courage that can serve to inspire and motivate you and others.

Abraham and the Offering of Isaac   (Genesis 22:1-24)

God chose to test Abraham by telling him to offer his only son as a burnt offering (v. 1-2).  Abraham displays courage immediately in his response as he rose early (v. 3) to assure completion of the journey.  After 3 days of travel he saw the mountain God led him to. He told the men traveling with him to stay behind as he and his son would worship and return to them (v. 5).  This statement not only displays his faith and hope but also the courage Abraham possessed to go alone to the mountain top to offer his only son.   Abraham’s immediate reward was the salvation of his son and God’s provision of a ram for offering instead (v. 13).  One can only imagine the impact on Isaac for the rest of his life.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego   (Daniel 3)

The king, Nebuchadnezzar, made an image of gold (v. 1) for the province of Babylon to worship.  He assembled the residents and authorities to hear his proclamation (v. 4-6) commanding worship of this idol or death by being cast into a furnace of blazing fire. Once it was recognized that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not obey the proclamation (v. 12), King Nebuchadnezzar sent for them (v. 13).  Standing before the king, they were confronted with the king’s commands.  Without hesitation, bold in courage, they told Nebuchadnezzar that their God was above all others and able to rescue them, if he chose to do so, and that they would not worship his gods or images. The king responded in anger and had them thrown into the furnace (v. 23).  Because of their faithfulness and courage to give the king an honest answer, risking death, the Most-High God (v. 26) saved them and changed the life of the king and Babylon.

Perhaps you will not be asked to risk death or sacrifice a loved one, but life is full of challenges that call for courageous responses, especially for Kingdom leaders.  What challenge are you currently facing that needs a courageous response?  Lead with courage!

Rewards for Laboring

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.   If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.   1 Corinthians 3:10-15  (NIV  1984)

In the passage above Paul is talking about his labors for Christ.  He, the ‘expert builder’ of people, reminds the Corinthians that there will be rewards given at the ‘bema’ judgment seat at the end of days.  All of our labors will be tested by the fire of God, revealing true motives and outcomes.  Some will lose potential rewards while others will be rewarded for their faithfulness.  Salvation is not at risk, this is rewards for service.

As Kingdom leaders who labor for the Lord and His purposes, the reminder that we will have to give an account of our labors should be sobering.  The writer of Hebrews 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)  We are stewards of a trust given to us by the Lord, the trust of leading His people to accomplish His purposes.

In the parable of the Talents there is an accounting when the servants are called to report to their Master the results of their labor.  Faithfulness is rewarded by the Master (see Matthew 25).  Immediately following this parable is another titled the Sheep and the Goats.  Referring to the final judgment, the sheep (faithful ones) are welcomed into heaven and are surprised at their reward.  Note that in this instance, they are rewarded for service given to other believers -“whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40)  We see similar principles of reward for labor taught in the parable of the Ten Gold Coins (see Luke 19).

Your labor for the Lord does not go unnoticed by Him.  There will be a reckoning one day and rewards will be given for your faithful service.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.   1 Corinthians 15:58   (NIV  1984)

Leaders and Faithfulness

Dr. Francis Dixon – a well known evangelist in Australia and NZ, revivals / crusades – but led a church in England told the following story:

One Sunday night Dixon asked a man, Peter, in his church to share his testimony.  Peter said, “This is how I was saved… I was in the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George St. and out of nowhere stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that?  Thank you.  God bless you.’  And he left.  I had never been asked that question before and I could not get it out of my mind.  When I got back to England, I sought out a pastor and was converted to Christ.”

Several weeks later a revival team came to Dr. Dixon’s church and on a Wednesday night he asked one of the team members (Noel) to share how he had been saved.  The guy stood stood up and said,  “I was stationed with the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that.  Thank you.  God bless you.’  Noel said I couldn’t  get that out of my mind.  When I got back to England I sought out a Christian businessman and I came to know Christ as my Savior and Lord.”

Several months after that Dr. Dixon was in Adelaide.  He was doing an evangelistic crusade and said that he just had to share this so he shared about Peter and Noel.  As he was sharing a man stood up in the congregation waving his hands.  Dr. Dixon stopped and asked what was the problem – to which the man replied, “I’m another.  I was in  Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that.  Thank you.  God bless you.’  Later I was converted to Christ.

When he came back to his church he shared about the crusade experience – specifically about Peter, Noel, and the man in Adelaide.  Afterwards a woman came up to Dr. Dixon and said, “Well, I’m another.  I was visiting Sydney Australia and walking down George Street….  Later I was converted to Christ.”

Shortly after that he was teaching at a convention in Northern England and he was asked to address a group of pastors.  When he started talking he said, “I’ve got to share this,  This is exciting.”  So he told them about Peter, Noel, the man in Adelaide and the woman in his church.  Afterwards a pastor came up to him and said, “I am another. I was in Sydney walking down George St and out of no where came this grey-haired old man…  Later I was converted to Christ.”

A year later Dr. Dixon went on a world tour and he was in India and was asked to speak to a group of missionaries on evangelism.  So he told them the story and afterwards a missionary came up to him and said, “Dr. Dixon, I am another.  I was walking down George St…. Later I was converted to Christ.”

From there he went to Jamaica.  He was in Kingston addressing a group of businessmen at a luncheon.  He shared this story and afterwards a man came up to him and said, “I am another.  I was on a business trip in Sydney, Australia and I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little old man…Later I was converted to Christ.

Where do you think Dr. Dixon Went next?…Sydney, Australia

He went to a Christian businessman there and told him this story and asked, “Do you know who this man is?”

“Sure, that’s Mr. Jenner.  He’s been doing that for 23 years.  But he is very feeble now.  He just got out of the hospital, is confined to his bed and is almost blind.”

Dr. Dixon said, “Would you take me to him?”

The man said, “Of course.”

So they went to this little grey-haired old man’s house.  As they walked into his bedroom, Dr. Dixon introduced himself and began to unravel one of the most incredible witnessing stories ever verified.  As he started to share about how one after another had come to know Christ, the little old grey-haired man started to weep to the point that Dr. Dixon had to stop.  “Excuse me sir, but what is wrong?.”

Mr. Jenner said, “After 23 years, that is the first time I have ever heard of anyone coming to Christ through my testimony.”

23 years of faithfulness…23 years of sowing and never knowing that the seeds had sprouted and born fruit…23 years of serving out of obedience to Christ.  May we be found faithful!

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