Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.
I wonder what you think of when you think about a display of God’s power? Is it some ecstatic display of the Spirit’s presence or is it some great miracle, like walking on water or healing a paralytic? Now those might in fact be true, biblical, displays of God’s power, but I wonder if you were to think of God’s power if you would think of the Gospel? Because that’s what Paul thinks of in Romans 1:16, where he says: 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Defining and summarising the Gospel in a short form is tricky to do, but it might be something like: Jesus being declared and vindicated as Messiah – Lord and Saviour of the universe – through his death and resurrection in fulfilment of all God’s promises for the glory of God and for the good of the world, and so bringing back to God all those who repent and believe.
Something like that.
But is that what you think is God’s power to save? When it comes to leadership and trusting the Bible this is the centre-point for that trust. Do you trust what the Bible says about God saving people through the gospel? Or do I think that God saves people through my programs? Or through my clever advertising? Or through my advanced strategic planning and organisational skills? Now don’t miss-hear me: I’m not against programs and clever advertising and strategic planning and organisation. But that’s not where the power for salvation comes from. God saves people through the gospel.
The difficult part is that it doesn’t sound very good on paper. The transforming effects of the gospel in people’s lives happen so slowly. So slowly in fact that it’s easy to lose sight of, it’s easy to believe in theory but then not in practice. We’d all want the gospel to be the foundation, but the problem with foundations is no one ever sees them and most people forget they’re there.
When Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2: “1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” I don’t think he meant that the only thing he literally said was that “Christ was crucified” or that he refused to talk about any other topic. I think what he meant was he ensured that everything he said, every topic he discussed, flowed from, was tied to, centred around or was explained in the light of the cross of Jesus.
Knowing and trusting that the Gospel is God’s power for salvation means more than having the Gospel as the foundation – though that’s a good start. It means having the gospel as the foundation, and as the shape, and as the method, and as the means, and as the content, and as the centre of your ministry and your leadership.
The Gospel is God’s power to save. Trust it.