This is the second in a series of posts (click here to read the first post) discussing the 5 most valuable leadership lessons Martha Lawley , author of Attending the Bride of Christ: Preparing For His Return, has learned from the life of Peter. Ask God to show you what He would have you learn as you read this leadership lesson.
Again the 5 leadership lessons include:
1. Leadership is a Calling
2. Leadership is Dynamic and Can be Messy
3. Beware of Self Reliance
4. God is in the Business of Restoration
5. Comparing Ourselves to Others gets in the Way of Following God
Today we will look at # 2: Leadership is Dynamic and Can be Messy!
I like things to be neat and orderly – I prefer to avoid messes. After all aren’t leaders supposed to already have it all together?
Scripture reveals that Peter jumped head first into his call to leadership. He went all in! Perhaps the best illustration of Peter’s all or nothing commitment is when Jesus wanted to wash Peter’s feet and upon learning the significance of what Jesus was about to do, Peter asked for a bath!
Let’s take a few minutes to recall some of the ebb and flow of Peter’s growth in his call to leadership. You and I experience a similar ebb and flow – up and down in ministry. However, we are often taken by surprise, frustrated or discouraged. We usually fail to see how God is working in the ebb and flow.
Peter quickly became a part of Jesus’ inner circle along with James and John. His calling to leadership seemed to be going pretty well. Then one day something remarkable happened to Peter. Jesus asked an important question of the disciples – “Who do you say I am?” and it was Peter who moved to the head of the class with his understanding that Jesus was “the Christ, the son of God.” (Matt 16:16)
Jesus recognized and praised God’s work in Peter’s life as there was no other way for Peter to know who Christ was except from God. Then Jesus went on to Bless Peter! (Matthew 16: 17) Can you imagine what that felt like?
Perhaps you can recall a time when God’s hand was very evident in your ministry – when you felt particularly blessed. When I was new in my leadership calling I had a mountain top experience with God and thought “I’ve finally arrived!” Like Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, I wanted to build a hut for surely I was going to stay! Boy, was I mistaken! Some significant challenges awaited me! And I began to see how God used circumstances – both good and bad – to prepare me for what lied ahead.
With such successes, Peter’s confident self-reliance continued to grow. But not long after that high point in Peter’s calling, Jesus predicts his death and an upset Peter pulls Jesus aside and proclaims “this will never happen”! Jesus responds by rebuking Peter saying “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:22-23)
I can just imagine Peter saying “What? Only a few days before, I was blessed – the golden boy! I wonder if Peter felt confused, hurt or misunderstood”? I know I have felt that way before.
Have you ever had a mountain top “God moment” and then just days or weeks (or maybe even hours) later realized that you no longer have your focus on things of God, but things of men? I have!