(multiple references) “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Heb 13:7) “Obey your leaders and submit to them for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning-for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb 13:17)
Seems to me a pretty large part of the Letter to the Hebrews has to do with being responsible, recognizing responsibilities, and acting upon them-knowing that the ultimate responsibility for walking worthy of the Gospel is the face looking back in the mirror.
Never did much care for these two scripture references. God puts a lot of responsibility on the “leaders” and the guys like me, the “followers.”
Applying these principles in my life takes a lot of faith: I need to be perceptive and discerning; I need to hear what is being said by these folks (and hear what is NOT being said as well). I need to learn-not just from these kind of folks but from other sources as well so that I can train my senses to discern good from evil, wise from unwise, scriptural truth and facts from “good ideas” and foggy enthusiasms.
There is a problem with my reluctance to think this through: I am a leader. I am a leader of my household, of my wife, of my children. I am an example at work, at the local church, in my small group. I cannot escape it: I have responsibility-the kind of responsibility described in Hebrews 13 and elsewhere in the Bible. I may not be a pastor, a professional clergyman, but I have imputed responsibility on me by God-such responsibility that I need to pay attention to and embrace.
Do I have the attitude “don’t look at me, look at Jesus?” and try to avoid “walking the walk?” Doesn’t the scripture references above put a stopper on that attitude? Leaders are supposed to be looked at, evaluated (consider the outcome of their life…) and imitated if they are worthy of imitation. I love that: “worthy of imitation.” Doesn’t that make your teeth grind?
Facts are this aspect of the Gospel doesn’t get talked about much. It should though-if I am serious about following Jesus then I am (or should be) just as serious to be a serious disciple-and a serious model to imitate.
Scripture describes Jesus as “setting His face like flint” as He approached Jerusalem and the Cross. What a picture for me to imitate!! I will set my face like flint as I embrace the Word of God and become an example of continuous improvement in walking worthy of the Gospel.
Lord my God: Being a leader isn’t all it is cracked up to be at times. As a leader I am not always right; I am not always perfect; I fail many times and in many ways. Saying “I too, have feet of clay…” isn’t thorough enough; it seems shallow. I am aware of my shortcomings and my deficient ways before You. But-there is joy when one of those You gave me responsibility for shines like the noon sun! When I see and hear them not only say the Word of God but also see their conduct in the light of the Word of God. What joy!! What astronomical happiness! Is that how You feel? AMEN.