“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” I Timothy 3:1
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In the first chapter of I Timothy, the Holy Spirit explains the qualifications for servant-leadership and the reasons for such requirements. The same topic is also addressed in Titus 1 and I Peter 5. In practice, these qualities can be applied not only to elders, but to any believer who desires to serve the body of Christ in a leadership capacity. This would include assistant pastors, board members, ministerial staff, home fellowship leaders, Sunday school teachers, ushers, worship leaders, and youth pastors, just to mention a few by name.
In his book, Second, Pastor L.E. Romaine also addresses the topic of servant-leadership. After decades as an assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Smith, Pastor Romaine pens strong words of exhortation for anyone seeking to assist a Senior Pastor in furthering the kingdom of God and prospering His people. In his book, Romaine includes an article originally published in pamphlet form, written by G.D. Watson (1845-1924), a Wesleyan Methodist Minister and Evangelist based in Los Angeles, CA. Entitled, Others may, You cannot*, God’s leadership curriculum is explained in terms few embrace, most ignore, and hypocrites distort at their own peril. When one realizes the crisis in the church today of true, servant-leadership, it seems prudent to revisit Watson’s words. My prayer is that we all might have an ear to hear what the Spirit says through the following text.
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Others may; You cannot
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
Other Christians and ministries who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others may brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen
The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.
He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessings which will come only to those who are in the inner circle.
Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.