Dearest Hope Family,
I am continually struck and regularly humbled (terrified?) that some of the most pointed and harshest words that fell from Jesus’ lips were directed towards those called to nurture God’s people. Consider Matthew 23 – the entire chapter. It is a companion piece to the Beatitudes which form the introduction to Jesus’ inaugural Sermon on the Mount; however, instead of the promise of blessings, Matthew 23 issues curses. Each paragraph begins with a powerful three-letter word, “Woe!”
Verse 23 exposes the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, who appear more interested in their reputation and thriving than the flourishing of God’s people under their care. Jesus pronounces a curse upon their hyper-vigilant tithes of semi-edible weeds and spices: mint and dill and cumin, and their simultaneous wholesale neglect of the “weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.” And that is simply one out of seven woes he calls out!
The current crisis of godly leadership, it seems, has been a perennial struggle. It’s not just our lives, our pandemic, our cultural moment. Godly leadership that adorns the profession of the Gospel, leadership that embodies “knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness,” comes at a high premium. However, such leadership, such deliberate integrity, is not simple to secure nor easy to maintain. Our path through Titus 1 this week and last highlights the intentional and rigorous labor demanded for quality church leadership.
What a gift, then, we must thank God for at Hope: godly elders who adorn their profession of faith with lives of sacrifice and service for our flourishing! Not perfect, sinless folks who have no need of Jesus’ blood and righteousness; rather sinful men who know their need, drink deeply of Christ’s supply, and minister God’s word, shepherd God’s people, and intercede for God’s church from the overflow of Christ’s gift.
These are exacting times for everyone. Reserves of grace and peace wear thin quickly. Would you, today, even right now, praise God for the leaders to whom He has entrusted our care? Would you, today, even right now, pray for sustaining grace and abiding peace for these elders? Would you, today, even right now, reach out to an elder with an encouraging word or a token of thanks?
Such quality and gracious leaders are not an entitlement. They are a gift from God. Let’s name and celebrate and safeguard and capitalize upon the unique blessing we are experiencing for the unique time we are called to live in.
Peace of Christ,