So I went against my promise. My next post wasn't on the ranch, instead a message from God by way of my professor. Well now it's time to see what I said through. Two weekends ago, I was blessed with an opportunity to retreat from life for a few days and experience God in the wilderness, surrounded by brothers who share the same passion, same heart, and same spirit I do. I went in with no direction, no idea, no understanding. I came back with a mission, a purpose, an idea, and a burning desire.
The desire was already there, however, it needed to be set on fire. Our journey began with a long ride up, finished off by a crazy drive into the woods. That night, Jose asked who wanted to do the morning devotion. Being the eager speaker I was, I quickly said yes and already had a great Oswald Chamber devo to go over. Little did I know, it wasn't like that. What Jose wanted wasn't a clever scholar's words of wisdom so that we could imitate another man's words, instead, he wanted something I really had never done before: one bible verse and my reflection on it.
Now I couldn't just pick any verse. It had to be one that was applicable to all of us as leaders, yet personal to me. I spent the night shaking my brain. I went to Colossians, 1 Thessolonians, 1 Timothy, James, Matthew. Nothing. That morning I had my morning devo far away from everyone else. I was trying to find something, anything. A Psalm, a Proverb, something! I couldn't find anything, at which point I gave up and told God to do it, because on my own, I couldn't find the verse. Shortly after my devo, I started speaking with Tito. Just sharing with him my disbelief at where God had me, and how just months before him and I were at lunch discussing being a leader, while I was swimming in the world. That is where he told me "God knows the desires of your heart" that is where God reminded me what it was He showed me before submitting my application. Below is the verse we discussed, along with it, in an effort to keep this one short, I'll post the other verses we discussed for devos and what we all took from it.
1 Peter 5:2-4
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Feed my sheep. To shepard the flock is to go before them, to lead them, but not by authority, rather, example. As leaders, or aspiring leaders, we musn't mix our age, our knowledge or our experience with our role. We weren't placed at a position of leadership because of any of the above items, if that were the case none of us would be leaders. To be a leader is to be a servant. When you have people over your house, while yes they are over your house, where you rule, under your roof, the whole time they are there, you serve them. You offer food, drinks, comfort, anything to make them feel at home. The same applies for us as leaders. We feed them through our reading of the Word and what God speaks to us, through our studies and deep sea bible diving, we quench their thirst for knowledge. It isn't by our power though that we do any of this, but by His. Never lose sight of the fact that we are conduits, or channels of His glory. Tools.
1 Timothy 4:12-16
12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit,in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Everyone only reads verse 12, however, go on. We are given a command to do three things: Read the Word, Exhort or encourage one another, and know doctrine. Additionally, we are told that whatever gift we are given, we meditate on. The last verse seals it by saying that if you do all of the above, you'll not only save yourself, but others. As a leader, and really as a christian, there is half. It is all or nothing. We cannot serve two masters. You are either for Him, or against Him. Do ALL of the above. For a leader this is tenfold. Do ALL of the above, plus more. Whatever gift we are given, in this case leadership, we must meditate on it. Read the word on it, study it, know it, and never stop learning of it. By the way, those three things in verse 13 along with prayer, are essential to growing in the Lord. Reading the bible daily, encouraging one another, knowing the true doctrine, and add prayer (which really should be first) and it makes for some great fertilizer.
I can't type up the whole chapter, however, this devo was interesting. On one of our midday expeditions, we all started talking about men in the bible who were near perfect examples of what happens when we remain so close to God we never doubt or worry. Daniel was the first one to come to mind. Throughout the book of Daniel, even to the age of 80, Daniel never wavered. He was firm in the Lord (Isaiah 9:7 on being firm). You realize that he went against the government when they said he could no longer pray in public and did so anyway. He knew that obediance to God was key, he also knew that God would honor that. So much so, Daniel slept with the lions. I bet the men who threw him into the den that night slept worse than Daniel did. As leaders, we must remain steadfast to God. We must remain above reproach and give no one any reason to even think twice about us (1 Tim 5:14b).
The trip was a blessing. God not only brought us closer together, He also showed us a lot about what we are called to do and be as leaders. If I had to some it all up into one word, it would be this: selfless. To be a leader is to be selfless. Remove from yourself any and all selfishness, because selfishness is the root to sin. We sin because we think of ourselves before thinking of God. Doubt, worry, lies, lust, covetousness, judgement, you name it, it all comes from us, us wanting to benefit ourselves in some way.
Be above yourself, and when I say be above yourself, I mean let your spirit, your heart, your mind, dwell on He who is above you. Dwell on the spirit, not the flesh. (Gal 5:24-25; Rom 8:5-11)