Sam walked from the studio into the sanctuary. The amplifier levels were set incorrectly and the sound in the room from the instruments was unbalanced. So he adjusted the levels on the soundboard and moved the amp volumes up to full power. He removed the old paper arrows taped to the board assigning each channel a specific level. Now the system sounded great. Sam was pleased he had helped the church.
Two days later a small elderly woman asked him why he changed the settings. She ran the sound for the worship team and she was not happy. She backed Sam into a corner and singed his ears. She told him Fred had set the levels and he should have left them alone. An elder came over and completed the tongue lashing. “Don’t you ever tamper with these controls again!” By now Sam was feeling pretty low. “Who is Fred?” he asked. To his amazement he found out Fred had not attended the church for four years. They were still working off levels he had set! Sadly, this is a true story.
Mark 10:42-45--Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.
If you’ve ever encountered a controller you can relate to Sam’s frustration. Controllers operate from a need to have everything work according to their plan and definition. They don’t care how others do things because they know what is best. Underneath a bold exterior of confident leadership simmers insecurity. Controllers flourish by insulating themselves with “yes” men and by establishing rules and regulations that protect their philosophy. Often controllers are successful because they stay on task and provide stability to those who dislike change. They can be extremely effective in accomplishing their goals. Look closely, however, and you will discover mavericks, independent thinkers, and those creative individuals who bring freshness and breathe new life into stale organizations are not welcome and don’t stay long.
Someone once said, “Authority does not make you a leader; it gives you the opportunity to be one.” As we mature in Christ, we learn to let go of the need to control others. We recognize that such behavior reveals distrust in God because we rely more on our need to be right than in His right to work His will. It is healthy to be surrounded by people who think differently than we do. God’s plan often involves using those we would never pick in ways we would never imagine. What we need is a vibrant prayer life as opposed to calculating sound bites.
Excellent leaders are Spirit-led and grounded in humility—not like the officer James S. Hewett shares with us in Illustrations Unlimited:
A young second lieutenant at Fort Bragg discovered that he had no change when he was about to buy a soft drink from a vending machine. He flagged down a passing private and asked him, “Do you have change for a dollar?” The private said cheerfully, “I think so, let me take a look.” The lieutenant drew himself up stiffly and said, “Soldier, that’s no way to address an officer.We’ll start all over again. Do you have change for a dollar?” The private came to attention, saluted smartly, and said, “No, sir!”
Do you have a need to control? How much are you willing to give up so that others can grow? What are you afraid of—that people will be critical of you; that mistakes will happen; that you won’t get your way? God loves you and He wants you to bear fruit—His succulent, soul-refreshing, life-energizing, joy-producing fruit. So trust Him. Let Him lead. Those who truly care about you will stand up and cheer!
Power we must have, whether we like it or not, but power is a terrible peril unless the life is rooted in God’s grace.—Oswald Chambers in Notes on Jeremiah
©2003 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
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