But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” John 12:4-5
On occasion I am a referee for basketball games. While the money isn’t bad, I mostly do it for the exercise and because I enjoy the sport and the kids. I certainly don’t do it for the esteem or the accolades I get from the fans. In fact, when I’m on ‘the other side’ and sitting watching a game I’m amazed at the ignorance and impatience fans have with the men and women in stripes. On the lighter side, there’s an old joke among sports officials. “If you leave the gym with everyone mad at you, you’ve called a good game!”
The reality is, you will never please everyone and sometimes it’s hard to please ANYONE!
What’s true for basketball officials is unfortunately true for leaders as well, especially for spiritual leaders. The number of men and women who felt ‘called to the ministry’ and have since dropped out due to spiritual abuse is staggering.
To be fair, when a spiritual leader falls or leaves the ministry battered and bruised, it’s not always the fault of their followers. Like the basketball official, they make bad calls from time to time. But all too often the attacks on leadership are based on personal differences and have nothing to do with the ‘call of God’ on someone’s life.
Truth of the matter is, when you set your mind on your own agenda you will never see God’s working. A good case in point is none other than Jesus Christ himself. If you are like me, you have often marveled at what it was like to sit at the feet of Jesus; to see him heal the sick; to watch him deal with those who were demon-possessed or struggling with some life issue.
Yet, even Jesus wasn’t immune to the attacks of people. Some of those people were those closest to him! Take for example, Judas. At some point Judas must have seen Jesus as one worth following. Why? We aren’t sure. But there was something in Jesus Christ that attracted him, and conversely, something in Judas that attracted Jesus or he wouldn’t have chosen him as one of the 12, and the groups treasurer. (Okay, some of you theologians are going to argue that it was all part of the divine plan, and I’ll give you that, but from a human perspective, there was an attraction at the outset so bear with me!)
Somewhere along the line, Judas became disgruntled with the spiritual leadership (aka: Jesus of Nazareth). From that point forward, there was nothing that even the Son of God could have done to change him. Judas’ decision was from the heart and God will always allow us to choose. Rather than trust God, Judas chose to trust his own perspective and the results were devastating.
As spiritual leaders we are called to lead as Christ led – as servants. As those under the tutelage of spiritual leaders we are called to pray for and support our leaders. When these two attitudes are followed the body of Christ will prosper.
Don’t allow yourself to be a Judas and question how God wants to work in your life and the lives of others. Once you allow disgruntlement to set in (as a leader or a ‘follower’) you will never see the power of God manifested.
PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that sometimes I struggle with my attitude towards those who are leaders in my life. Help me to keep a clear mind and to pray for those with whom I may disagree. Amen.