250 words reflections on this note
Lovett H. Weems. Jr. tells a story in his book. Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit, which absolutely captures my passion as it relates to the directives of Jesus in Luke 10 to look and see the harvest fields and then “Pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers!” The story is a bit lengthy, but very much worth the read!
In London there is a Roman Catholic priest named John who had a dream of having a ministry with some of the lowest paid workers in London. When after several years his assignments never made this possible, he took a job as a street sweeper. Without anyone knowing that he was a priest, he found his ministry each day among coworkers. This worked out wonderfully.
He was a bit older and a bit slower than the other street sweepers, and at the end of every day there was work that he had not completed. The other street sweepers would come together and help finish his assigned work. They did not mind because they discovered very quickly that even though John was a bit older and a bit slower than the rest, he was a very good talker. When they had trouble with wages or working conditions, they would explain it to John and he would talk for them to the powers that be.
One morning John came to work and a small group of coworkers was waiting as they had done on many other occasions with some problem. Today their faces held more anguish than usual. They said, “John, something terrible has happened. Joe was found dead this morning.” Joe was a forty-year-old coworker. He had died in a homemade shed in an alleyway. They said, “If we had only known. If we had only known that Joe had nowhere to live, we could have helped him. If we had only known Joe was sick, we could have done something. If we had only known Joe was having hard times, we could have helped in some way. Now it is too late. Joe is dead. We will never be able to do anything for Joe.”
John said, “Maybe you are wrong. Maybe it’s not too late to do something for Joe.” They said, “What do you mean? He’s dead. How can we help Joe?” John said, “At least we can give him a decent funeral.” They responded, “That is a wonderful idea, but we would not know where to begin to have a funeral.” It was at that moment when John revealed that he was a priest and that he would help them plan a funeral.
At the end of the week, Joe’s funeral took place in a church arranged by Father John. Street sweepers from all over London came for that service. John, now dressed as a priest, presided at the service. When the service was over, but before anyone got up, one of the street sweepers sitting near the front stood and looked out over this sea of street sweepers. With a dazed and puzzled look on his face he said. “How many more priests are there here?”
That is the question for us this week. That is the question of Christian leadership in the church. The question is not, “Whom will we select for high positions?” That is an important question, but it is not the question. The question God is asking us is, “How many priests, how many ministers, how many leaders for God are there throughout the church?”
I have found the Apostle Peter to helpful in many ways. When he wrote the first epistle, he stated (I Peter 4:10), “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” The various forms may be traditional (to some of us), or they may be non-traditional (and off the wall). But whatever gifts you have received, use them for His glory. Be a dispenser of grace on His behalf.
James Kouzes and Barry Posner capture this spirit well in introducing their new edition of The Leadership Challenge, “Liberate the leader in everyone, and extraordinary things happen.” God is seeking to liberate you and me to serve in extraordinary ways. We cannot afford to think too narrowly or even traditionally. What is God asking you to do and be? Where is God asking you to serve? Can you hear His voice?
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