One of my favorite pastors and authors is Chuck Swindoll; I have read most of his books and listened to his Insight for Living broadcast. His radio program kept me during my wilderness season. I do not remember if I read this from one of his books or heard it over his broadcast, but what he said about being a leader has stayed with me: “If you want people to bleed, you must hemorrhage.” In other words, as a leader, you must be an example. If you want them to give, your giving must exceed their giving, and you must be the first one to give. If you want them to be on time, you must be there before them.
The Apostle Peter wrote the following: “Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” 1 Peter 5:3 (NLT)
The word “lord” in the text is from the Greek word “katakurieuō,” meaning to exercise dominion over. We should not exercise control over the people God has placed in our charge; we are to lead them. When you strive to control the people assigned to your care, you are no longer a shepherd. You become someone God never intended, a tyrant who commands lordship over the people.
This spirit of control causes tremendous damage to the body of Christ. Most people who have experienced church hurt, and want nothing to do with the church, were probably hurt by a tyrant pastor who lorded over their lives.
My dear children, remember that you are called to shepherd the flock God has put in your care. That means you must care for them by being an example to them. If your lifestyle does not glorify God, you cannot expect the people in your care to live a life that glorifies God. Remember, sheep follow the example of the shepherd; they go where he leads them. You are their example.
One final observation, make sure you are living what you preach. One of Paul’s final admonitions to his son Timothy was to pay attention to his preaching and his lifestyle: “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16 (NASB)
If your lifestyle and preaching are biblical, those who hear you will be saved!
Your Spiritual Father
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