Purity Vs. Popularity

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Leadership, Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This past Sunday was Palm Sunday.  My family and I worshipped at the church that my wife grew up in and that we shared our wedding vows in.  We enjoyed a beautiful Palm Sunday service along with a rather convicting message.

I did what I normally do during a service.  I took meticulous notes of the message and kept an extra piece of paper handy for notes that had nothing to do with the sermon.  I am constantly scribbling thoughts to myself regarding the passage of Scripture that I hear read and preached about on any given Sunday.  Sometimes these random thoughts spring into full fledged ideas that will be birthed into a sermon or a lesson for a later date.

In order to properly convey the thought process I headed down, during the message, and that I am headed down now I must first lay down the context of the Scripture that Pastor White read prior to his sermon.   The Scripture read was Luke 19.28-47.  It is often referred to as the triumphal entry.  Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey.  Palm branches are laid down and praises are sung.  He is at an all time high in His popularity.  The people love Him and they praise Him.  This is followed by Jesus crying over the city and dialoguing with the Pharisees.  The chapter ends with Jesus (once again) driving the money changers and profiteers out of the temple courtyard.

Typically the message one will hear in regards to this chapter has to do with worshipping Jesus.  Yet Pastor White instead preached on verse 45 and 46 and talked about the need for purity both in the temple of Jerusalem but in the purity of the Holy Spirit’s temple.

My brain traveled down another path.  It travelled down the path of leadership.  I am nearly always reading a book on leadership; I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in leadership, and quite often write articles about leadership for my own personal development. 

Here is the thought that hit me.  It is nothing new.  In fact it can be found in almost all literature that deals with the how to’s of effective leadership.  It was this: maximize your influence.  Jesus had the perfect opportunity here to build an even larger following.  The masses were praising Him.  They were proclaiming His greatness to all who would hear.  He held in His hand the perfect opportunity to build a positive view of Himself that could radically influence all who were in the city of Jerusalem at that time. 

In a corporate setting a strategic meeting would have been called.  Perhaps something like this would have been asked.  Now that we have effectively gained a large group of constituents how are we going continue to (1) keep their faithfulness to Jesus and at the same time continue to (2) increase our sphere of influence?  These are two reasonable questions that should be asked by non-profit and for profit organizations alike.  Simply put, all organizations want to keep what they have and at the same time expand their boundaries.  In and of itself, there are is nothing wrong with that concept.  Yet this is not the methodology that Jesus followed.

 Several years ago Bill Hybels wrote a little book entitled “When Leadership and Discipleship Collide”.  This is a prime example of what one of these collisions look like.  There will come a time for all who are in leadership when they must make the hard choice.  I can guarantee that there will come a day when all who lead will be asked in some form the following question: What is more important, purity or popularity?

At the height of His popularity Jesus chose to rebuke sin rather than embrace praise.  He stormed into the temple and drove people out like cattle.  Scripture does not say that Jesus acted calmly and submitted a request.  He did not hold a meeting with His advisors about what to do.  In fact the Greek word used here means that He literally expelled them from the temple court.  It is same word used in Acts 13.50 when Paul and Barnabas were kicked out the city of Antioch by an irate mob. 

Jesus sends a profound message to all who are in leadership in the end of Luke 19.  Purity should always take precedence to popularity and praise!  If sin is in the camp, Jesus is not happy! 

I would like to end with simple thought that we all need hear on a regular basis.  Pursue truth: not pats on the back!

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