Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Kingdom of God”

Your Assumptions are Showing!

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith… Mark 6:5-6 NIV

Jesus had come home to Nazareth after an extended time away. Having launched His public ministry in Jerusalem and Judea, He had moved to Capernaum and large crowds followed Him, listening to His teaching and observing His many miracles. By this time His popularity had increased such that even King Herod had heard of Him (see Mark 6:14).

Now He came back to His boyhood home and gave to them the same opportunity the other villages of Judea and Galilee had received. He entered the synagogue at Nazareth and taught them about the Kingdom of God. Mark had already noted that when Jesus taught, He did not quote other rabbis as sources of authority as was the custom. Rather, He contrasted their thoughts with His own, claiming a greater authority. This caused questions and confusion among those who knew Him. “… and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?'” (Mark 6:2 NIV)

These people had certain assumptions about Jesus (see Mark 6:3). He was a man who had grown up in their village like many other young men. He had brothers and sisters like many families. He had learned from His father the trade of carpentry and had worked among them as a carpenter. He had never received religious training to be a rabbi and yet here He was teaching others about the Kingdom of God and recruiting disciples. They had heard that He was performing all sorts of miracles and certainly the crowds that followed Him seemed to indicate something unusual about Him. But, their assumptions about Him blocked their faith and they took offense at Him. As a result He could not do any miracles among them, other than a few minor healings.  Why?

It was their assumptions that led to their unbelief and lack of faith in Him. They did not even bother to ask Him for help! Certainly, Jesus’ power was the same in Nazareth as elsewhere. But, their previous assumptions about Him did not allow them to even consider asking Him for help. No wonder Jesus was ‘amazed at their lack of faith!”

What assumptions about Jesus do you have that are negatively influencing your leadership? The opportunity for Jesus to show Himself strong on your behalf is extended, but will your assumptions about Him lead to unbelief and a lack of even bothering to ask for His help? He has stated that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. Will you even ask for His help?

“…You do not have because you do not ask God.”   James 4:2  NIV

Confronting or Conforming?

In Mark 2:21-22 Jesus responded to His critics as to why His disciples violated the culturally accepted way of doing things.  He said, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment.  If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins.  If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

With these two parables, Jesus explained that His Kingdom would not fit the cultural norms of the Jews.  His Kingdom would demand new forms and practices which were not contained in the Jewish cultural norms of the day.  As Kingdom leaders fulfill their mission they will introduce the Kingdom of God into a culture along with it will come new values and practices.  This is normal, good, and inevitable.  Change will come.  But, our desire is that the change will be rooted in biblical, Kingdom values and practices, and not Western, post-modern, or even the latest leadership guru’s best practices or values.

The guiding principle would seem to be this:  we should strive to make Jesus and the Bible the basis of our leadership and the only stumbling block if the message is to be challenged.

In instances where Kingdom values or practices violate the cultural values or norms, we must hold fast to the biblical truth and accept the resulting opposition.  This does not mean we should flaunt our convictions, especially if we know they are likely to cause adverse reactions.  We must be sensitive as we take our stand, so that the opposition we face is an opposition to Christ and the Kingdom, not to us.  This presents us with an opportunity to see God demonstrate His power and grace in spite of cultural barriers and push-back.

In areas where there is no clear biblical precedent, we should yield to the cultural norm so as not to cause an offense over a “side issue” (such as paying temple taxes or whether or not to celebrate certain holidays – see the previous two blogs).

All of these decisions will require wisdom from God.  Ask for it and you will receive it!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.     James 1:5

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