How often do we fail to realize that it only takes one sin to affect others? We read about the anointing and consecrating of Aaron to the Priesthood. What an honor! What a position! Did Aaron realize what God had just given him? With great ceremony, Aaron had received the blessing of God. You, like Aaron, may have been anointed or called to a position of leadership. How do you handle this coveted position? With honor; with humility; or with pride? When God called Moses to the mountain for more instructions he left newly anointed Aaron and a compatriot Hur in charge and did so before the elders:
“Here are Aaron and Hur with you. Whoever has any matters of dispute can approach them.” [Ex 24]
Yet just 8 chapters later we find Aaron, ALONE! as one of two “men in charge,” compromising and failing in his God anointed responsibility. This leaves us wondering: Where was Hur all this time? Why did Aaron yield to the people to make the golden calf? And lastly and more importantly, why did he lie to Moses when he returned from the mountain? When Moses asked him why he made the golden calf he answered “They, that is the children of Israel, said to me,” (sounds like Adam in the Garden) and then (note rolling eyes here as Aaron notes the miracle): “I threw it [the gold that is] into the fire, and this calf came out.” Ah yes, from the miraculous to the ridiculous! Reading this we say “really?” But, when caught in sin we often do much the same thing if we are honest.
Could it have been that Aaron’s pride in his position overshadowed his responsibility and relationship to Hur, the people, his sons—but more importantly to God? Or was it the fear of men that caused him to yield? Or could it have been a combination of both? It appears that Aaron had not only forgotten his mandate from Moses to consult with his co-leader and the elders; but more importantly, had not quite grasped what it meant to be the spiritual leader who must give an account of his leadership! Hebrews reminds us that our “leaders…[are to] keep watch over [our] souls and will give an account for their work.” [Heb 13:17]
Point to Remember: For Aaron, it was a combination of fear of men and pride of others following him that was greater than he following God.
Learn from Aaron: The fear of man is a snare [Prov 29:25] and one sin affects or ripples out to affect the whole community. In this event, three thousand are killed and later his own sons used strange fire and God takes them out.
The Corinthian church needed an ‘overhaul’ of their priorities and who better than the father of this church, Paul the Apostle. He encourages the Corinthians to imitate him as he follows Christ, the ultimate example of servant-hood as he washed the feet of the disciples.
No man is an island but we journey towards the celestial city as a Body. it is when we have reached our destination that God will reveal what is hidden and as well as the motives of the heart which we are unable to do. Until then along the highway of life both in and outside the church we are to be servants and stewards of the doctrines that the church upholds.We must offer these gifts in humility not judgment.
Rather than spinning our wheels looking for whom we can judge or elevating one person above another–seek to imitate Christ. Instead of seeking to one-up-man-ship begin to ask how we might help others along Sanctification Highway. We journey not alone but as pilgrims traversing together. Our compatriots have been blessed with every perfect gift from above, for God is the Father of lights and with him there is no shadow of turning. Thus may we view the leadership over us and the members of our Body as gifts from God. Praise God for those in leadership and pray for them. Pray for those with whom you fellowship. Look and find the gifts they have to enrich your life. Look beyond yourself and follow the model of Jesus as you serve in the Body of Christ for it is God’s will that we be sanctified – set apart for His use.
Mirrors have a way of changing our view. We have a choice: will we look in the mirror and walk away forgetting who we are (James 1) or will we look in the mirror and with a gasp see the true reflection and then choose to alter our view to mirror Christ? Are we seeing a servant spirit or a proud spirit? That is the question that Paul is asking the Corinthians to do in chapter 4.
Recently a friend has posted many times of the gratefulness he has experienced for his new pastor who is still driving 100 miles round trip to serve at his “wee” church. So too Paul had put a lot of shoe leather to the test as he walked from place to place. It is easy to get up and attend church when you live a mere 5 min drive or walk but this dear pastor and Paul put service above their personal needs. The question Paul is asking in this chapter is how do we view ourselves and more importantly, how do we view those in leadership. There is a saying: do not judge unless you have walked a mile in another’s shoes. That is what Paul is driving home in this chapter through his analogy of the servant and a steward.
Paul says there is a right way and a wrong way to view those in leadership and the Corinthians were leaning towards the wrong way. Paul uses two words to grab their attention and to get a true view. The Corinthians had a problem of elevating three people: Paul, Apollos, and Cephas more than Christ and not only that but they were beginning to elevate themselves with the mentality of “I have arrived.” To help them, Paul now gives them a picture of how we are to view those in leadership in our own churches which then gives us a proper perspective of who we are. Paul encourages them to imitate him as he follows Christ, the ultimate example of servanthood and stewardship.
Servants and stewards. Here he uses the word “hyperetas” which means a subordinate servant who ministers or renders a service to another. Secondly, Paul uses the word stewards which is the word “oikonomos.” This is one who has been entrusted with the management of a household. Ultimately they must give a report to a master and Paul is saying, I must give an account to God. God is looking for one key component: faithfulness. As you look at the leadership in your church what do you see? Does Jesus shine through them? Do you see them as servants/stewards or do we look at how they dress, how they market our church, their entertainment value, their humor? Instead we should be looking at those in leadership and their gift of servanthood and stewardship and ask: Are they being faithful? We might ask that same question of ourselves. How does God see me?
Paul is saying to the Corinthians and to us: don’t elevate one leader over another. Consider this fact: God is the giver of every perfect gift from above, for He is the Father of lights. See your leadership as a gift from God. Praise God for those in leadership and pray for them that they would be wise servants and stewards of that which has been entrusted to them which they are now sharing with you. Lastly, see yourself also as a servant in the Body of Christ.
Four questions: (1) Do I truly give God credit for my salvation? (2) Do I live with a spirit of humility? (3) Seeing all things come from God, what can I give in return to Him? (4) How can you demonstrate gratefulness for those in leadership over you?