Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Big 7 for Christian Leaders (5)

One of you kindly wrote that, even though I write often for preachers and pastors, my ideas relate to others. That is particularly true of the Big 7 for Christian leaders. How I hope these have wide application! Over the next days I hope to fill out each claim.

1) SACRIFICIAL LOVE. For Christians, love is the greatest - no doubt about it! We can never substitute anything else for it, no matter how heavy the pressure on our lives, and how tempting are other options! 1 Corinthians 13 was written to a gifted church, tangled in strife because it had forgotten love. So too, many gifted Christians need reminding of this first principle. And it is sacrificial love because Christ first loved us and expects us to love with Christ-like love (John 13: 34, 35; 1 John 3:11). Nothing is more demanding in Christian leadership than this. Harnessed with this quality should be zeal, which burns to serve and save others for the Lord's sake. Yet, keeness to serve should never be at love's expense.
W.E. Sangster, the great preacher, used to warn about pastors "repenting of sacrifice" by which he meant that they regretted ever responding to God's call when the going got tough. But, especially when the going gets tough, love remains number one evidence of Christian leadership. Love is Jesus' gift to be exercised maturely in an immature world.

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