17. Leadership requires willingness to give your entire life.
The first step to giving your entire life is to understand that you have a purpose, and that purpose is to live like Jesus. He gave His entire life for the church and we must do the same. If you are thriving as a leader, then you must be serving. If you are serving, then you are thinking and you are thinking about someone else.
If you are not serving, your mind is filled with your needs and desires to the point that you cannot help someone else. Leaders lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel—and the gospel is about others. The purpose of Jesus was not to save just you, but to invade your life and cause you to be a Jesus-carrier, that you would also serve like Jesus served.
Lead like Jesus and give your entire life.
So far, we’ve looked at 17 directives, or imperatives, that the apostle Paul gave to aspiring leaders and church builders. Today we will look at a couple more that might be a little tougher to apply but they are certainly necessary.
18. Leadership requires resilience from people who hurt you.
If anyone had cause to be discouraged because of hurt from other Christians or criticism, it was Paul. He was abandoned by his friends multiple times and disappointed by many others.
Yet we find him asking for Mark to come and be his right-hand man. Paul would not take Mark earlier on a ministry trip when Barnabas wanted to bring him because Mark had abandoned him earlier. Still, Paul offers grace, recognizes the anointing that is on Mark and asks for his assistance.
The lesson here is to forgive those who hurt us but also be careful about letting them back into our lives with all the liberties they had.
In life and especially in ministry, people will hurt you. Whether intentionally or not, someone will rub you the wrong way. We must be resilient to people who hurt us. That also means we are gracious in forgiving them and wise in responding to them. We can model how to restore those who have abandoned Christ and the gospel by showing resilience and perseverance in preaching the gospel faithfully.
19. Leadership requires the ability to stand alone with God’s help.
After Paul recounts the instances of people abandoning him, he says, “But it doesn’t matter—the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it” (2 Timothy 4:17, Message). Paul rests in the assurance of Christ’s presence and strength even when no Christians in Rome came to help him with his case. When friends desert us, it is God’s sovereignty and sufficiency that will anchor us.
Paul’s goal was to preach the gospel. For that purpose, he was empowered to stand chained, defenseless and alone, friendless and humiliated, in front of an imperial Roman court, and preach the gospel. Keeping his eye on his purpose helped him stand firm in hardship.
The assurance is not just making it through the trial but of entering eternal rest. God protects those who are His and He sustains them through any difficulty. Take up Paul’s directive today to be resilient and stand with God’s help.
“Appreciation can make a day—even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” —Margaret Cousins
For the past few weeks, we have been taking an in-depth look at some directives that the apostle Paul gave to a young church builder. Those directives are ones that we can apply today to our leadership regardless of our position or vocation. We will finish this week with a few more imperatives for all leaders.