Last night the elders of ECPC examined two men for offices of ordained leadership in the church. I woke with the following question writ bold in my imagination, “What must we have from our leaders?”
In 1779 a man thoroughly acquainted with his personal, specific, and substantive evils and wretchedness wrote the following poem – – – >
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face
Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair
I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest
Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part
Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low
Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”
“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”
Our leaders must sincerely pray for growth in faith, and love, and every grace. Our leaders must incessantly hunger to intimately know more of God’s amazing choice to rescue them from themselves and His wrath. Our leaders must personally and earnestly seek God’s face. Our leaders must desperately rely on God while grappling with the hidden evils of their own hearts. Our leaders must perpetually lead in a posture of weakness and uncomfortable honesty regarding their own failings (external and internal) [Matthew 5:21-30; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Mark 7:20; Luke 11:13; Luke 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15; Genesis 9:21; Genesis 12:11-13; Genesis 16:2; Genesis 20:2; Psalm 51:3-5].
In 1779 the same man who wrote the poem above wrote these words as well – – – >
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
Our leaders must be absolutely in awe of God’s amazing grace! Our leaders must believe the unbelievable …that God really has chosen to save a wretch like them! Our leaders must spiritually feast on the fact that God hasn’t merely preserved us from being destroyed, but has brought us into His house! Our leaders must participate with God in extending the invitation to enter His infinite and incomprehensible joy! Our leaders must say what God says to us, “Rejoice, be glad, rejoice with your redeemed family members in joy!” Our leaders must constantly remind us that God has indeed promised, “Behold, I will extend peace to you like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon the hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you!”
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. – Malachi 4:2