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Look up! Look up often!

Paul wrote to Timothy, his mentoree and spiritual son because the latter was facing some huge challenges, his health was weakening probably due to the stress; and both his personality and youth were liabilities it seemed at a time like this!

If I was Timothy; I would wish Paul returned back quickly to set things right. We all hope someone can appear to make things better. Churchlife! seeks to be an instrument toward that end – whether it is helping pastors and leaders navigate team dynamics, pressing issues, raising leaders or clarifying goals and setting strategies.

However, no matter how hard we try; the very real limits are found in two things: our hearts, and our vision.

If our hearts are worn down or filled with negativity or fear; no amount of planning and working would change much. Many great men and women will say honestly that they do not consider themselves the smartest or fastest; but they will readily admit to one thing: they have set their heart to the task and it means so much, they won’t back down.

How does one get such a heart?

It comes from the second: our vision.

All of us leaders know that it isn’t about hammering out some nice-sounding statement that a vision is birthed. Indeed, Oswald Chambers used to say,

“When God gives a man a vision, he takes him down to the valley; and hammers him into the shape of the vision” (adapted).

The vision that Paul cast before Timothy was that of his own life. Paul recounts for Timothy his own history and God’s unlikely call and amazing transformation of his life. He writes with such conviction that it crescendos with a doxology ~

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever, Amen. {1 Tim 1v17}

Then Paul pulls Timothy up from his spiritual slack, urging him to fight the good fight.

Faced with loud, contentious voices; issues that won’t resolve easily, maybe even personal attacks, all leaders can crumble within.  What gives us strength is recounting God’s call and gracious equipping – and trusting that even now, even this, God will be King, eternal, immortal ! Although he is invisible to our physical eye; God can become consuming in our spiritual sight and loom larger than all our present troubles.

And when we sit and wait, our trust growing deeper – God will assert His kingship and lead us down the path to take. This is the best shield and defense for the leader called by God.