I saw the sun this past weekend! I love the sun! Did you see it, too? I was pretty excited by it, that’s for sure. I’ve read about the sun in books, but living here in Michigan, I’ve rarely caught a glimpse of it. It sure made my day to see this cosmic phenomenon that others talk about so fondly. I even saw a sunbeam on dry pavement. Dry pavement! Can you believe that?! It didn’t have any snow on it!
Okay, so I’m being a little facetious. The point is that the warmer weather has finally poked through the pall of a long Michigan winter, and with that, some relief is upon us.
Besides a big and brightly beaming sun casting its happy light upon us, do you know what else I love? The leaders in in this congregation. And why? Because they truly do fit the Biblical depiction of what it means to emanate Godly authority in the church. In other words, they see themselves as both responsible and accountable.
With regard to accountability, the Word of God is pretty clear that anyone serving in a sphere of authority over others will ultimately give an account to the One who is the source of all authority (Luke12:42-48; 20:9-16). And we know who that is, right? Read Matthew 28:18 if you don’t. But if you guessed Jesus before reading Mathew 28, then give yourself a high five, because you’re right. All authority in heaven and on earth is His, and so even the authority that leaders in the church and world wield, they do so, technically, as stewards in faithfulness to Christ.
With regard to responsibility, believe it or not, the scriptures suggest that Godly character is essential for anyone seeking to be a leader. Maybe you have heard the phrase “Character is your true self when no one is watching.” In the Bible, the traits of Godly character are almost always intimately paired with “truth.” Even more interestingly, character is treated as a fruit born from conviction, which is at the heart of the positions we hold on certain issues in accordance with truth. A leader with character seeks after truth—God’s truth—and wants it to be communicated to the people he or she is leading. (Prov. 6:16-19; Psalm 1:1; 1 Cor. 11:1-2; Romans 5:4; 1 John 2:3-4; John 6:67-71; Prov. 22:1; Prov. 8:14; 2 Thess. 2:14-15; James 4:8; Eccl. 7:1; Phil. 4:5; Eph. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:17)
In Titus 2:15, Saint Paul takes time to point out how a Christian leader’s authority is founded on character. Paul encourages: “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” Now, Paul does not mean that Titus ought to flex the muscle of his authority as a leader in a way that shows he’s the boss and folks had better understand that he’s the boss, but rather a few verses prior, Paul explains how Titus’ authority would be established, displayed, and subsequently acknowledged and accepted: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus’ authority is substantiated not just by his official title, but by a life that displays worthy character that seeks after and is set upon Godly truth. This instruction from Paul is not just for Titus. Paul gives the same encouragement to young Pastor Timothy: “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
So, in other words, Godly character commands respect, and the chances are good in any particular congregation that a steward of such Godliness who holds respect will also end up serving as a leader with certain measures of authority.
I can heartily attest to the fact that the Christian leaders here at our Savior are mindful of the ultimate source of their authority—Jesus Christ—and with that, they are not self-seeking, but rather are serving all of you in faithfulness as they serve the Lord in faithfulness. And the substance of that authority is fed and owned by Godly character—character itself being fed and owned by the capacity to abide by Godly convictions built on the truth of Christ and His Word even when faced with the temptation to forsake God’s Word because their own reason appears to make more sense.
These are the folks serving here at Our Savior. You can be gladdened by this. God is very good to us in this regard, and just like the sunbeams of a springtime sun, He casts the bright beams of His love upon all of us through the diligent work of these faithful people.