The following is a lesson taken from a 52-week series on leadership entitled, “Fan Into Flame.” I wrote the series to encourage and motivate Bible Talk Leaders by studying the life and leadership of Timothy and Titus. Enjoy……Daren
“Do Your Best”
Read 2 Timothy 2:14-19
There are many things in spiritual leadership that seem like a science – apply this formula, you get a predictable result. Other things are different, and seem more like an art. Sure, you can try formula’s and strategies, but the results don’t always turn out like we expect. In my experience, more leaders (especially young or new ones) tend to view leadership as a science, not an art. In reality, it seems to be a delicate combination of both. The problem is, when we view leadership of people as a science, disappointment or discouragement is not far away.
We have established that Timothy had his hands full in Ephesus. From this particular passage, we know that people were needlessly quarreling about words. It was causing fights, and sadly, ruining those who heard it. There were those indulging in godless chatter (aka unspiritual talk or gossip). There was destructive false teaching spreading quickly throughout the church. Paul compares it to gangrene, the erosion of body tissue caused by nasty bacteria…not good! Such people, calling themselves Christians, had in fact wandered from the truth and begun to hurt the fellowship. Faced with these pressures, Timothy was in a heated battle with his own effectiveness. Knowing this, Paul tells him to do his best to seek God’s approval by wholeheartedly applying himself to the gospel and striving to be a diligent workman.
Why would this have been an encouragement to Timothy? It is very possible that he (like many of us) viewed leadership as a strict science. He could have started with zeal and fervor, setting out to do leadership perfectly. Before long, his idealistic vision of leadership and results seemed out of reach. Paul reminds him that before God, he is supposed to do his best, not do it perfectly. Can we perfectly see to it that we never sin, baptize our friends, make our kids respond the right way to things, grow the church quickly, make people repent, make people open, or make people remain faithful? Of course not. Leadership is much more of an art form. Certain things seem to work effortlessly and smoothly, other things leave us scratching our heads in bewilderment. Leaders naturally seek control, and we simply cannot control so much of what happens regarding other people in the church. In fact, when we (for whatever reason) seek to live even our own faith perfectly, we become enslaved to a rigorous, exhausting, guilt-filled walk, devoid of grace. In contrast, when we try to “make every effort” (Luke 13:24, Rom. 14:19, Eph. 4:3, Heb. 4:11, 12:14, 2 Peter 1:5, 3:14) to do what God wants us to do, we can live happy and surrendered knowing that we have “done our best” and the results rest firmly in God’s hands. This reality makes me happier to serve, and ironically, makes me work harder as an artist in God’s wonderful church!
1. God does not expect perfection from you – he expects your best. How does this make you feel? Does this change the kinds of pressure you feel as a leader? Do you find yourself more motivated and joyful in your leadership role because of it?