Work, Leadership and Making Disciples
I have been contemplating this past Sunday’s sermon and I wonder if I made the connection between leadership and disciple making strong enough. I said that the call to make disciples automatically puts us into the ‘leadership’ category because we are leading others to Christ. Too often, the thought of making disciples is regulated to evangelism or an initial gospel presentation. And yes, it does begin there. We must present a clear and accurate message of the gospel to those we are trying to win. But discipleship is not just evangelizing. It is teaching and it is modeling what it looks like to be a faithful follower of Jesus. This is why Jesus said explicitly in Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ What we do matters and it is a reflection of the Savior whom we follow.
The Apostle Paul believed that his example in the workplace was important. 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (ESV) For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.’ Paul believed his integrity as he worked making tents brought power to his message. For in the next verse he writes 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) ‘And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers’ (emphasis mine).
So work hard at your jobs as though you are working for the Lord. He is using your example (and also your words) to lead others to him. Being faithful to the Lord in your place of work brings glory to him and empowers your message. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) ‘Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.’