Sometimes I feel bombarded by a world of takers and, when my eyes land on them instead of my Savior, I begin to feel discouraged. Frustrated. Taken advantage of. I know God calls me to serve Him above all else and to follow His will. In other words, to concern myself with obedience and nothing else. But so often my vision drifts off the path He’s laid out for me and onto others. Like the apostle Peter in John 21:21, I ask my Savior, “But what about him, Lord?”
To which God responds, “You must follow Me” (NIV).
I’ve heard others say they want to be leaders, but I wonder if they realize what this means. Leading means giving all of yourself without expecting anything in return. It means elevating others while you slip quietly into the background. It’s giving others the credit for wins and taking full responsibility for each loss.
In short, it’s doing all you can to act like Jesus, the One who gave His life so that we might live.
Honestly, that’s every Christian’s call, and we’re all leaders in some capacity. Whether we’re guiding little ones each day, speaking life into our coworkers, or demonstrating to our neighbors what it looks like to follow God.
We all have a sphere of influence, precious hearts God has entrusted to our care, and He asks us to lead them well. With passion, strength, courage, perseverance, and self-sacrifice.
In order to do so, our eyes must be locked on our Savior and whatever task He’s assigned.
He reminded me of this truth this morning as I was reading about Ezra’s commission to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. This call came while the Jews were in captivity, living in a foreign nation. I imagine many felt stuck. As if their situation was too bleak for hope. But then God “stirred the heart of Cyrus” the King of Persia to proclaim in writing, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are the Lord’s people may go there for this task. And may the Lord God be with you!” (NLT).
God is sovereign. No matter what is going on around us, regardless of our challenges or circumstances, we can rest in this truth. Our ministries, that assignment we can’t afford to botch—He reigns over those as well.
And notice, it is God who calls His people to action—those who chose to respond. In other words, when God gives us a task, not everyone will contribute. But those whom God calls will, as Ezra 1:5 demonstrates. “Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and the Levites and leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord” (NLT).
We’re not alone in this walk of obedience. God is always with us, and though some may leave, betray us, or take advantage of us, others won’t. Others will help and encourage and support. And God will provide everything else. All we need and more.
This is precisely what He did for those rebuilding His Temple. Ezra 1:6 says, “And all their neighbors assisted by giving them articles of silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock. They gave them many valuable gifts in addition to all the voluntary offerings” (NLT).
God amply supplied.
He’ll do the same for us. When I’m focused on God and resting in His sovereignty, I’m freed to move forward in peace and faith. I’m not defeated or frustrated by other people’s actions, because I know God’s in control and will guide me toward His very best. If I’ve spent hours working on an important topic someone else gets credit for, I’m not phased because I know God’s bigger. If others don’t come through or leave in the middle of a job, I won’t feel defeated because I know God will supply what I need when I need it to complete precisely what He has planned.
Let’s talk about this! Do you ever have the wandering, “What about him, Lord?” When are you most prone to do so? How does (or might) remembering God’s sovereignty–over you, your situation or ministry, and those in your sphere–help you remain focused and encouraged? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!
For those wanting to follow along with my Bible reading (as I have a feeling many of my preceding posts will stem from that), here’s a daily reading list. (I’m reading out of a chronological Bible so am simultaneously in Ezra, Haggai, Daniel, and Psalms.) I’ll share some questions you can use each day to help you process what God might be telling you below. They’re pulled from Day One Option One of Wholly Loved’s Becoming His Princess Bible study.
Day two: Ezra 2
Day four: Ezra 3
Day five: Ezra 4
Day six: Spend a day reviewing, journaling on, and praying over what God showed you during your day one-five Bible reading time.
Questions you can work through as you read your daily Bible passages:
Who are the main characters in this passage?
What does this passage reveal about the human condition, such as:
- Mankind’s rebellion against/obedience toward God?
- Mankind’s attempts to fill their needs apart from Him or relying on Him for their needs?
- Mankind’s attempts to reach Him on their own terms?
What does this passage reveal regarding God’s nature?
What does/might this passage reveal about God’s plans?
How might this passage reveal mankind’s need for the gospel?
In what ways are you/have you been similar to one or more of the characters in this passage?
What might God want you to know through this section of Scripture?
What might He be asking you to do?
End your reading in prayer, asking God to help you apply the biblical truths discovered and live out whatever you sense Him impressing on your heart.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.