Nov 2, 2009

What You See is What They Get

People draw into close community around a common vision or purpose.

Start with Moses—certainly he was no orator or slick leader. He was a stuttering, reluctant 4H geek pushed out of early retirement; a shepherd from somewhere near Van Horn, Texas, conscripted to confront one of the most powerful Sadaams on earth and unite an enslaved people. But with a strong sense of calling, Moses unified people. He corralled a single community focused on God’s vision for their collective destiny.

Then there is Nehemiah riding quietly in moonlight, his powerful horse picking its way through strewn rocky rubble of the once-royal city of David, a.k.a. Jerusalem. Most leaders would crumble—faced with uniting a poor, depressed people to rebuild such ruins. But God gave Nehemiah a vision of a city rebuilt and renewed. Again, with unwavering focus, Nehemiah’s mission defined his people’s mission as they rallied under him to accomplish what God had ordained.

Paul’s community-building assignment in the ancient Greek city of Corinth was by far his most difficult. The church he had established in a ribald port city was home to some of the Mediterranean’s most sea-logged, stubborn scallywags. They cleaned up their lives for the most part, but their continued bickering threatened to split the Church. Like pulling a drawstring, Paul gathered a community of disparate groups by extolling their differences. He likened the various factions to the human body’s arms, feet, eyes, and ears—their individual differences serving the greater good, the common Body, with a single purpose under the Head of Jesus Christ. Pure Pauline genius it was—divinely inspired—re-creating a community just itching for a reason to fight and split.

How does community happen? People are motivated to common work and fellowship in close quarters when they have a common goal. When that single purpose is clearly discerned as being from God, the incentive toward community is greater still. Leadership, you see, is less about personal charisma or exceptional gifts than about discerning from God the way to go, and rallying people around that ultimately important goal.

When you are focused and can rally all of your resources toward a divinely inspired goal, life comes together with greater meaning and fulfillment.

Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:

  • Looking at your own life, do you have a sense of personal calling?
  • Have you discerned God’s purpose for your life?

 

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