Being and Becoming God’s Leader
it has been said that there are two kinds of leaders. One who pushes from behind. The other leads from the front. Which one is Paul? He is a third kind of leader that I admire most of all. He comes alongside because he has been through what he is helping others go through. He has experienced the joy of seeing the mission God gave him to help groups of people come together to serve God, worship and love Him. He has also experienced the pain of being beaten for believing from outsiders and the heartbreak of his character being maligned from the insiders. So, when he sees that happening, he revisits. He helps by coming alongside to share in their lives, hoping to say the hard words that will cause growth in God’s church.
2 Corinthians 1, The Message
1 1-2 I, Paul, have been sent on a special mission by the Messiah, Jesus, planned by God himself. I write this to God’s congregation in Corinth, and to believers all over Achaia province. May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours! Timothy, someone you know and trust, joins me in this greeting.
3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
6-7 When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.
8-11 We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.
12-14 Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world—and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised. Don’t try to read between the lines or look for hidden meanings in this letter. We’re writing plain, unembellished truth, hoping that you’ll now see the whole picture as well as you’ve seen some of the details. We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.
What do we learn?
–We come alongside others God sends us because most likely, we have been down the same road that they are going down now. God does that frequently. He will send us who we can help because we were faithful and can help someone else in need of a friend to help them.
–Who we help will help someone else.
–We will have several people in our lifetime who will come alongside us and help us.
–God will give us people to come alongside to help them.
–This come alongside leadership exponentially helps us all grow and mature into healthier, kinder and more gracious people of God.
–We are in this together.
Dear Heavenly Father, We see past Paul’s words to one church and go deeper into Paul’s example of leadership which You affirm and bless. Thank you for reminding us we are in this life together. Continue to show us people who we can help and who can help us to transform into all You intended for us to be and do.
in Jesus Name, Amen