Years ago when I first started training to be a worship leader, my mentor gave me a copy of this quote. One of his mentors gave it to him, and he's had it posted on his wall in every office he's had since. I don't have an office, but I have it posted where I can see it, and someday it will be front and center on my desk. So without further ado:
The Road to Spiritual Authority and Leadership
"It is not won by promotion, but by many prayers and tears. It is attained by confession of sin, and much heartsearching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncomplaining embrace of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but like Paul, by counting those things that are gain to us as loss for Christ. This is a great price, but it must be paid by the leader who would not be merely a nominal but a real spiritual leader of men, a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth, and in hell." - Samuel Brengle, Salvation Army
I got thinking about all that last night, in a conversation with a friend who's just feeling the weight of his call right now. Following Jesus and living into our calling is the most adventurous, fun, joy-filled, exciting thing we can do... and at times it is really hard. You're responsible for what you know - and to whom much is given, much will be expected. It's part and parcel of how it all works. And it's a joy and a privilege to be entrusted with much, but it also comes with a good deal of responsibility, and there are just days we don't wear it lightly. (And sometimes I wonder if, on the days when I do wear it lightly, I'm being flippant or simply unobservant.)
I am not looking back - at least not in a way that would get me turned into a pillar of salt. (I don't think.) But I have found myself, in a couple of situations recently where people were praying over me and my calling, shrinking back a bit as they prayed boldly, honestly admitting that I'm not sure I can do this... It is a road I want to take - a road I've been asking to take for quite some time - and now that it's here... I'm afraid.
I am not so afraid that I don't have what it takes. I've seen how God's gifted me, and I've seen how He's blessed what I'm doing.... this is the call. But I'm afraid of getting caught up in that. I'm afraid of being too focused on my call and not focused enough on Him who called me. I'm afraid of letting the praises of men take precedence over the opinion of my King... I'm afraid of allowing my motivation to be wanting people to like me rather than resting in the fact that He loves me...
Which I suppose, as long as I don't let it paralyze me, might actually be healthy. (I am still not quite sure about this.) But maybe if I'm afraid of all that, I won't allow myself to end up there.
If God launches me onto any kind of platform from which I can share the gospel and declare the greatness of His Name, I don't want it to be because I planned and strategized how to get there, or because anyone else did. I want it to be because I've been face down, sold out, and totally committed, and He knows I can be trusted with it. And I want it to be because it cost me something to get there - so that I will never forget that it is not about me, for even a second.