One of the hardest lessons in life is understanding authority, where it comes from, and why we should succumb to it. From a Biblical standpoint, we can see that 1 Peter 2:13-14 calls us to be law abiding citizens: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men; whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”
Christians should follow the laws of the land, and work for change in unjust laws in a peaceful manner. But I would like to move forward and discuss the need for Christians to become good followers before seeking leadership roles. Too often, I see my Christian friends complaining about the process of apprenticeship, be it in the ministry or occupations outside the church. Patience with playing the role of follower is in high demand. Today, too many people want to be the quarterback. No one wants to be a lineman.
The basic skills needed to be a good pastor, manager, or coach are greatly enhanced when the seekers of these positions have a great deal of experience on the other side of the same authority. We learn from good mentors and bad mentors. It is the experience and the learning process itself that delivers the tools to discern what works and what doesn’t. Students of any trade should not rush into leadership before they are truly prepared.
When we become anxious for success, remember what 1 Peter 5:5-7 says: “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward on another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Toss aside anxiety during apprenticeship. After all, the creator of every trade and every thing worth knowing has commanded us to be humble and patient during our education. And I’m not going to argue with the headmaster. Are you?
Recently I read a series of books on sheep and shepherding by two different authors. Future leaders in the church must learn to follow before becoming shepherds and then they must still be servants instead of herders. This was a good article.