October 28 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“…this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: ‘Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,’ declares the Lord.” ~Jeremiah 23:2

OLD TESTAMENT

Leadership guru, John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”  Maxwell’s motto is a generalization, but it does tend to hold true. So often, good leadership in a city, a business, a church, or any kind of organization is a key ingredient in producing success. Leaders have a tremendous impact on the culture of an organization (or a nation), which is one of the reasons Jeremiah goes after the leaders of the people in today’s reading.

All of Judah’s leaders have failed. The political leaders have failed to care for the people and provide proper guidance for them (they’re the shepherds in Jeremiah’s scathing sermon). Injustice, immorality and idolatry reign supreme while the people’s king holes himself up in his fancy palace with interior design plans. The spiritual leaders have failed too. Priests and the prophets alike disobey the law of God, and they tell the people what they want to hear rather than speaking truth. However, there is still some good left in the land so God will not destroy the people entirely (Jer. 24). He will carry away the good and preserve them, the bad will be tossed out.

It behooves those of us who are leaders to watch our own lives and to be careful how we live and how we lead. There is so much at stake. We should lead as if lives depend on it because they do! God will hold leaders accountable, more accountable, in fact, than most because greater trust has been given to us (see James 3:1-2). This warning is for leaders in every sphere—politics, religion, education, community, et al. For those who are in a position to elevate leaders, whether through hiring, nominating, or voting, let us promote good leaders as often as we can. So much rises and falls on leadership. God knows it, and that’s why the prophet has a strong message reserved especially for leaders.

NEW TESTAMENT

The young pastor is told to equip and empower others for the work of ministry. Effective pastors don’t try to do everything themselves—even if they want to and even if others want them to. Instead, they train reliable people who can in turn minister to others (2 Tim. 2:2).

Moreover, Timothy is told to persevere through tough times and work hard with the expectation that God will reward him. Paul especially advises him to work hard at his studies—at preaching and teaching—and to avoid all the rabbit trails that are so tempting to any minister of the Word. So many pastors get sidetracked by political rhetoric, personal agendas, and the like and inadvertently harm the church.

Paul has a great deal more advice for the young minister, all of it good. For those who are not pastors, the take-away is this, pray for your pastors, and support them as they endeavor to be faithful to their calling.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.