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Friday, June 27, 2014

You Are Not The Exception

Did you know the overall odds of winning any prize in the MEGA Millions lottery is about 1 in 15 but the odds of winning the jackpot is about 1 in 259 million?  And there you have the marketing catch – it is likely you can win something but pretty much impossible you will win big.  But, because you win a little, they keep the hope alive that one day you will “win the big one.”  We believe we are the exception.
            We engage in this type of thinking a lot.  We talk, Facebook or text on our cell phone while driving because we are the exception.  We can do it safely and nothing will happen.  We drive without our seatbelt on because we are the exception that we won’t get in an accident and, if we do, the seatbelt would hurt us more than help us.  We push and push and push ourselves in our schedule with all of the things we need to do, all the long hours at work to get things done, all the activities the kids have to be involved in to grow up to be well-adjusted adults meanwhile neglecting real relationship with our kids, real relationship with our spouse and real relationship with Jesus because we are the exception.  “Others might not be able to handle it but the pace of my life isn’t having a detrimental effect on myself or others,” we tell ourselves.
            You are not the exception.

But now even more the report about [Jesus] went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But [Jesus] would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:15–16, ESV)

            Leadership is influence.  Spiritual leadership is influencing people toward Jesus.  You can’t be a great leader without first being a great follower.  The life of Jesus is our example of what it looks like to follow.  The words of Jesus are our instructions of what it means to follow.  You are not bigger, stronger, better or more spiritual than Jesus.
            Let me put it plainly – you can’t influence people toward Jesus if you aren’t first following Jesus.  You are not the exception. 
            Jesus’ mission was to direct people back to the Father.  It still is.  He kept close, deep connection with God the Father so when people encountered Jesus, they would be seeing, hearing and experiencing God the Father.    Our mission is to point people to Jesus so Jesus can bring them to God the Father.  If we aren’t spending time with Jesus by reading his words and conversing with him in prayer, people will not be seeing, hearing and experiencing Jesus through us.
            Let me make it even more personal:  If you aren’t spending time with Jesus in reading his words regularly and conversing in prayer regularly (I suggest having a goal of at least 4 times per week) your kids are going to have a difficult time experiencing Jesus through you.  Your spouse is going to have a hard time being spiritually influenced toward Jesus through you.  You are not the exception.
            Time with Jesus is not the end, it is the means to being the person God intended us to be in a world desperate for spiritual leaders influencing people toward Jesus.  You can be one.  But you are not the exception in how it will happen.
Peace and grace,


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