2 Kings 21:16
16Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the LORD’S sight.
2 Chronicles 33-17 (NLT)
16Then he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. 17However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, but only to the LORD their God.
John 4:34 (NLT)
34Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.
As a leader, there needs to be tremendous understanding of influence on people. Manasseh was corrupt. He totally desecrated God’s temple, he dishonored God’s will, and he led the people in the wrong direction. It wasn’t until he was carried off into captivity that he repented.
But even after repenting he suffered the consequences of his actions. Even after removing the idols, the people still sacrificed to them. Even after repenting, his son was evil.
This is a really scary example. God put Manasseh into leadership for a specific reason — to lead His people. Manasseh was God’s representative on earth, yet the example Manasseh set was exactly the opposite of what God intended.
There is great responsibility in leadership. How do I handle that? How do I pass on to others God’s expectations? Not just my words, but my actions. How well do I pursue God? How well do I listen to Him? How well do I let God use me?
Several years ago, when God first called me into leadership, I was pretty naive in this area. I was engaged in activities that I now regret. Although, actively pursuing a relationship with Christ — and growing in my faith, I didn’t exactly live up to the expectations God had of me.
As a youth leader, I did a pretty good job — technically. But in my private life I was viewing stuff on the Internet that I shouldn’t. Although I wasn’t getting drunk and partying like I used to, I was still drinking beer occasionally. I was just unwilling to let go of some of the things that God had asked me to let go of.
Then He impressed me with this thought: Even if these things weren’t necessarily hurting me (which they were), what example was I setting? How would I answer if one of my youth were to ask me about beer — or other things? That’s when I realized that I needed to let go of these idols, just from a leadership principle.
I wonder if any of my former youth are still affected by those secret sins of mine?
When I was first called into leadership and a pastoral role in SoCal, I still didn’t get it. My outward, public persona was right on target, but privately — in secret — I still engaged in some pretty ungodly activities. My relations with women had much to be desired and I still hadn’t grasped the concept of purity. In addition, I was still eating things that (literally and figuratively) that I shouldn’t.
Once, while with my close friends, I bought a piece of pizza at a Saturday afternoon Point of Grace concert. Even though it wasn’t yet sundown, I was hungry — and all they had available was pepperoni pizza. My private life just became public. One of my friends, was appalled that I, a leader in the church, would do such a thing. OF course I defended my actions, but there was a seed of understanding planted.
A few years later it donned on me. Whether I understand the ramifications or not — even if I haven’t fully accepted the teachings, if I’m going to accept a leadership role I have to live up to the teachings, standards, principles, and responsibilities of the role I’m called to.
Granted, I am still growing and this is a journey, but I can’t use that as an excuse anymore. I have to strive for the highest standards. God has given me an awesome responsibility and I cannot take that casually. I have to realize that even my private actions have great consequences on those I lead.
I wonder how my actions have affected the girls I’ve dated? I wonder how my friends were affected by my talk, my attitude, and the example I’ve set?
Manasseh’s actions affected many generations after his death. How have my actions affected the world?
Father God, forgive me — again! I am so sorry. You continue to lead me into leadership — not always as quickly as I’d like — but as I look back, I see you have led me as quickly as I am able to be led. I have stubbornly refused to surrender certain things in my life. I have resisted teachings. I still don’t understand a lot of things, but that doesn’t excuse me for my responsibility to those things. I’m sorry God.
Please Lord, fill in the gaps that I’ve left in my leadership of others. Help them to cross the chasms of indifference and rebellion.
Be with those kids from my youth group at New Life — those kids are probably about 30+ now. Please, continue to draw them to you. Be with the 500+ people that used to attend Young & Restless. I hope they can overcome the purity issues that many young adults struggled with. I’m sorry God.
Please God, be with the 3-400 students at the Seminary that I was responsible for as their leader. I meant to pastor them well, but I still have/had much to learn. Help them to reach the highest levels of connectivity with You!
Lord, as a leader of a new church, the DNA is being set for years to come. Long after I’m dead and/or gone, my influence will be experienced here at Common Ground. Please God, raise me up into your purity and holiness. Forgive me and heal me — let me be your servant like never before. Let me rise above the stress, the casualness, and the lack of total surrender. Move me forward God.
Let my face always be turned toward you.