Friday, July 14, 2006

Overturning the Tables

When it comes to holding a position of leadership, truth and integrity are the most important pillars that uphold your claim. Those who speak with truth and integrity will always be influential because they can be trusted and are found to be reliable.
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.
- Matthew 22:15-16
As I find myself walking amongst men of no particular faith, followers with no clarity of vision, the weight of responsbility to be a leader becomes very real. At first this brings to mind the oft-touted claim to be In, Not Of.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
- John 17:14-18
I take this seriously and hold it be very tangible but I find that it only addresses one facet of how we are to seperate ourselves from the world. Reading these words we see clearly the importance of truth in this seperation. But simply being someone who speaks the truth when asked is not enough. Even the demons acknowledge God and tremble. We must go beyond what we speak in reaction and address how we speak proactively. Which takes me to the crux of a call to leadership and why I think every person of faith has such a calling.
In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
- John 2:14-15
When faced with depravity, oppression, and disrespect Jesus didn't ignore it. He didn't politely lobby for change. He didn't stay calm and proper. He fashioned a whip and drove the offenders away. He overturned their tables. He did it personally, immediately, and deliberately. He took ownership and corrected the wrongs, reproving the offender. This is leadership. Speaking the truth personally, immediately, and deliberately. Sometimes it requires a whip; it usually makes a mess.

As we bring these points to their logical conclusion we find that the path to sanctification lies through the deliberate, immediate and personal application of truth. His word is truth, and it must be applied. The application of truth is what makes us leaders. As we apply truth we exercise our leadership and we become sanctified. We are called to be sanctified, therefore we must become leaders.