I lead worship at the healing rooms this week. I invited my friend the flute player, and a new friend who plays guitar (and is a terrific worship leader herself) to help me.
I thought and prayed a lot about the evening before it happened. Here was my dilemma:
Since I had been gone on my cruise for over a week, I hadn't gotten to play any music in about two weeks. My fingers were itching to play piano. But I also knew that I wanted to start raising up other people and giving them a chance to lead.
So I really prayed a lot about (choice 1) whether I should just step back and not lead at all, and let someone else do it? or (choice 2) should we share the leading? or (choice 3) should I be a control freak and try to do it all?
Choice #3 ruled itself out pretty easily. I was ok about choice #2, but I didn't like choice #1 at all. And choice #1 is the one I had to take to the cross.
Because the question is: Am I willing to pour myself into discipling someone, even if it costs me a lot? Even if it costs me my own opportunity to do what I enjoy, and to lead?
This question applies to every leader. No matter how large or small your sphere of influence is, the crux of leadership is the same for you and for me:
- Are we making disciples? (Matthew 28:19)
- Are we preferring other people as better than ourselves? (Philippians 2:3)
- Are we willing to pour our life into each and every person under our leadership? Even when the cost is steep? (John 10:11)
If you or I can answer “no” to any of these questions, we are not leaders according to God's standards. In the kingdom of God, leaders are shepherds. And shepherds are willing to give their lives for the sheep.
Ezekiel 34:2-6 records God's words about wannabe leaders who aren't doing their jobs:
…'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves … but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
God is clearly not happy with leaders who are not shepherding. Listen to His sentence upon them, in verses 7-10 of the same chapter:
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
These verses contain God's challenge for us to make disciples. They also show the penalty if we don't.
So I wrestled with my strategy for the worship set. But, by the grace of God, I finally decided that I was willing to not play at all if that is what it took to let the others grow.
And you know what? God worked it out perfectly. It turns out I did need to lead for awhile, and the other girl led for awhile too. We alternated back and forth. She did an amazing job, and I had a great time with her and with my friend the flute player.
God required me to be willing to step back, but after I got my heart right, He let me lead after all.
Is God challenging you to invest yourself into someone else, rather than being concerned with your own success? (The answer is yes, by the way.) 😉 Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts!