Posts Tagged ‘stewardship’

As stated in my previous post, The Lord has greatly convicted me as a Pastor that there were things in my life I needed change. Much of it centered around bad habits, excuses and lack of disciple in regards to what went in my body and the fat that I was putting on. He then brought to mind at least four areas that confirmed why change was desperately needed.

The first area is the area of health. This should be the obvious one. Health is so obvious when it comes to the idea of putting on fat. We know fat is bad therefore we shouldn’t get fat. Yet, this knowledge does not seem to affect many of us like it should.

Think about it, if you have been around the church for any time at all, you know the verses found in 1 Corinthians 6.19-20 where it says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

These two verse have been used for years as proof texts for those who wish to preach against smoking and drinking from the pulpit (understand I am not recommending you pick either of these habits up). They will rail on sinful lifestyles and bad habits all in the name of protecting the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is rather ironic that this occurs when you consider that some research shows that 77% of male pastors are considered to be overweight (statistics are cited on sowhatfaith.com in the article “Overweight Pastors”.

Don’t drink or smoke because it harms the temple say the fat guys! Well, as a pastor, I too have at different moments mentioned bad habits that people form that directly affect their health. I have cautioned people to be careful not to become a slave to something that can harm their body because they only get one body. All the while I was packing on the weight myself and eating things that were horrible for me and nearly never exercising.

Is anybody noticing an inconsistency here? Well, God convicted me in a mighty way. Health is a huge deal. Did you know that studies have shown that more liver damage is done by obesity than alcohol and that studies have indicated that obesity leads to more doctors visits than smoking? Perhaps, pastors, we should start modeling a life of discipline in regards to what we put in our bodies before we tell others to guard what they put in their bodies. (I believe Jesus called that pulling the log out. I am now desperately trying to yank out the log)

If we read the entire context of 1 Corinthians 6.19 we also must read things like “you are not your own” and “you have been bought with a price” and “therefore glorify God in your body.” What I take from this is that when I harm the “Temple” of the Holy Spirit then I am being a poor steward of something that is not mine. Poor health, when it is a choice equals poor stewardships.

I know pastors who were not able to completely fulfill ministry duties due to health related to obesity. I was headed that direction with an extremely unhealthy view towards food that involved a whole lot of fast food and pizza. I was on the path to harming my calling. I refuse to allow my calling from God to be a victim of my poor choices (this calling involves my marriage, my kids and my ministry). I have chosen to prioritize my health over my cravings because I crave God more than food.

20140715-155512.jpg

Advertisements

The second chapter of Nehemiah shows a man of action presenting, pursuing and communicating a plan.  Nehemiah meets his task head on in a manner in which all of us who lead can learn from.  He does not shy away from opportunity but rather manufactures opportunity to do the work of the Lord.  The following are some lessons on leadership that we find in the second chapter of the book of Nehemiah.

1. A leader uses all available resources he has to benefit those that he leads. (1.11; 2.1)

In the end of chapter one we find a statement that says, “I was the cupbearer to the king.”  Nehemiah utilizes this opportunity to leverage his mission.  Yet, he does not do this without putting his own neck first on the line.  In fact in requesting that King Artexerxes grant him the opportunity to return to Jerusalem and commence in rebuilding the city he potentially faced the kings wrath.  You see Nehemiah knew the practices of Kings to put to death those who offer unwanted input to the king (Esther 3.11).  Yet, this did not matter to Nehemiah.  He was the cupbearer to the king.  He had opportunity to present his case because he was the cupbearer and did just that.  He recognized that he was a steward not just of his possessions but also was a steward of his position and opportunity.

2. A Leader Goes Into A Volatile Situation With A Plan Already In Place (vs. 2-10)

Nehemiah did not just show up to the King and act boldly.  He knew exactly what he wanted.  He did not pause to think of what to do next once he realized he had the ear of the king.  He knew what must be done.  The fact that stress was high and the stakes were also high did not limit Nehemiah’s effectiveness.  He presented the king with a plan.  A plan for a trip and a plan for rebuilding.  Without a plan that was presented unapologetically it is quite possible God would have used another man to rebuild Jerusalem.  Nehemiah did not shy from a man that could have ended his life.  Rather he presented a plan boldly that he believed to be God’s plan.  Doing nothing is not an option for a true leader.  Situations like the one Nehemiah found himself in are what sets apart true leaders from the wanna-be leaders.

3. A True Leader Sees What The Issues Are Firsthand.  If The Issues Are Important Enough To Fix, They Are Important Enough To Inspect! (vs. 11-16)

Once Nehemiah finally arrived in Jerusalem, he did not sit and become overwhelmed with the severity of the situation.  Rather he snuck out of his shelter one evening and personally examined the city.  He wanted to see the devastation firsthand.  He did not want to merely listen to the reports of others.  A true leader will not demand an issue gets fixed until he first examines the issue.  If is important enough to fix, then it is important enough to inspect.  If a leader is not willing to get dirty and do some legwork to benefit those he serves, then he is not in it for service.  He is in it for recognition.  A leader that is not willing to fulfill the obligations that his position demands should not be a leader.

While chapter 2 has several other leadership principles, I wish to leave you only with the three I mentioned.  I also wish to ask do you view yourself as a steward of all you have and are?  If so, can this be seen by your actions?  Do you have a plan of action?  Are you proactive or merely reactive?  Finally, are you willing to see the issues firsthand?  Will you get your hands dirty to examine a need rather than mandating that others do it?  We must not tell people how to operate, we must show them.