“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15
Honesty check! Are you a flight risk when a challenge comes your way? Do you look for an easier way out? You’re not the first person. I remember the confidence course at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The Military has always had its wonderful way of presenting challenge to the soldiers! In truth, there were many times that I personally was a flight risk in the face of challenge. The Gulf War being one of these times, Thank God for second chances.
Many times in our life we will deal with our fears, in times such as war, public speaking, leading our staff at work, or crisis at home.
Many times in our life we might not want to do what is right!
September 11, 2001 was a perfect example of times of crisis that provoked many to extraordinary composure and life saving responses. The challenge for some may have been what should I do? Or I can’t do this? This was certainly a time of need for leadership. And many rose to the call!
Running is not the answer!
We can’t run from our life or our responsibility to others. Jonah was a flight risk. He was called to task so to speak and he ran. He ran to Tar shish because evidently he had some friends there and could avoid what he was supposed to do. Of course his friends helped and so he went with them. That all went pretty smooth and it seemed as though everything was going to be ok for him, even though he was taking the easy way out.
As the story goes though he quickly found out that he couldn’t hide from what he was supposed to do as a leader.
Jonah was a prophet of Israel. He was a leader with responsibilities. One day he was asked to do something that he wasn’t willing to do. He was asked to stand on the streets of one of the greatest cities in history. Nineveh was a huge city with a large population and they were doing wrong!
Someone had to tell them and unfortunately for Jonah this was his area of responsibility.
Have you ever had to confront someone with a very unpopular message? Paul did when he had to confront Peter.
"For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. Galatians 2:12
As Christians we have enjoyed the popularity of calling ourselves Christians, in fact, the majority of the world's population calls themselves Christian when asked about their faith.
This is largely due to the progress that our brothers and sisters in Christ made before us through Christ Jesus. One way that progress has been made is in the advancing of the Gospel. Progress depends heavily on the continual advancement or movement of the faith. We are experiencing some hindrance to this though and as we read here in Galatians 2, this is not a new thing. There are some that easily retreat at the presence of others, I don't mean retreat, as in spiritual retreat, where one would take time out to meditate and reflect, but retreat, as in drawing back from the faith. This drawback expresses a lack in confidence and it hinders growth. Anytime there would be some discomfort, disagreement, or danger to expressing a love for Jesus, some people draw back and retreat. Paul said in Galatians 2:11, "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed." Why? Because he drew back, his drawback string had been tightened, and he became fearful and stopped preaching the truth. Do you have certain things (drawback strings) that cause you to stop sharing in the midst of a secular crowd? These drawback strings hinder the advancement of Christianity in a world that needs Jesus!
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and a sound mind." 2Timothy 1:7
Stir up the gift of God in you! Do not be afraid, do not shrink back, and remember you are making a difference in a world that needs change. They need you to stand firm in confidence and tell them about Jesus!
Tell Them The Message!
They may seem Huge to you but the stage is yours!
You got this!
So Jonah ran. If you’re thinking that running is you’re best option let’s look at this story.
Jonah a leader of people, a prophet of God, and a proven rebellious servant to God decided that he would not go.
Sometimes it may not be fear that causes us to run away. Maybe, as it was in this case for Jonah, he just didn’t want to do what he should do. He didn’t agree with it and therefore refused to go! Has there ever been a time when you were asked to do something that you should have done, but refused because you didn’t agree with it?
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he didn’t really want them to get a second chance. He just wanted them to be punished! It didn’t seem right to him that Nineveh should be able to do all this wickedness and he would tell them their wrong and they could possibly repent and not be destroyed.
Many times as a leader, to be successful, you will have to do things that may not seem right to you. Maybe it’s a company policy that you don’t agree with, maybe it’s a time and location that you don’t like, Or maybe you are required to give a message that isn’t one that you agree with.
If you are rebellious as a leader and refuse to do right how many will follow your example?
A Leader Sets the Example
A successful leader leads the way!
Who will follow you if you run?
Who will follow you if you rebel against what is right?
"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Mathew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, FOLLOW ME. And he arose, and followed him."Mathew 9:9
Jesus wants us to follow him, it's not that he desires to have the approval of the multitudes so that he can say look at me!, he doesn't need our approval for what he does. Jesus wants us to follow him because we need direction in our life. His direction is for our benefit, it leads us to our own land, a good pasture and a place of rest from all the troubles in our life. Jesus has concern for our welfare saying, "I will feed my flock and I will cause them to lie down." He doesn't want us to wander aimlessly through life allowing ourselves to be placed in harm’s way, making us meat to all the beast of the field. Instead he calls us to follow him so that we will have direction, protection, and a hedge of love to surround us that keeps us safe from all harm. FOLLOW JESUS TODAY!
A good leader wants their people to follow the right way!
A successful leader takes care of their people and leads by example with loyalty to righteousness.
Harden not your heart, stand up to the challenge and don’t run away!
EXCERPT FROM 21 STONES! BY c.m.