Love, Call, and Character
Father God seems intent on taking risks. He certainly “bet the Farm” when risking everything in sending Jesus to rescue the world. The necessity for a human being to rescue humans—and for blood to be the ransom currency—meant that Jesus had to be fully human—and therefore as capable of deciding wrongly as Adam was. There were no guarantees, and Jesus had it much rougher than Adam, considering that He entered a sin-soaked mess, rather than the garden of perfection Adam walked in. Jesus, the “Second Adam” chose rightly, and since “life is in the Blood,” paid for it supremely…! What a risk! What a Gamble Triune God made in allowing God the Son to walk in full vulnerability! LOVE is risky, and LOVE HIMSELF risked it all to rescue, redeem, and live relationally with you and me!
Likewise, Father takes quite a risk in calling people to be leaders in His Kingdom. He will not, mind you, override Free Will. If He did, there would have been no Fall and no need for Jesus to come… but there would also be nothing like true love. Love is risky…! Love requires a decision! Love cannot be forced! But LOVE HIMSELF will risk everything to find those who will freely love Him—and love His other children!
God called Saul to be the first King of Israel. Unfortunately for Saul, his character did not develop quickly enough to walk in the call. LOVE took a risk on the tall, handsome son of Kish, but the gamble seemingly failed.
God called David to be the second King of Israel. Fortunately for David and Israel, years of lack and struggle and insanity and pain and confusion—those years we call the wilderness years—shaped David’s character to the place where he could walk in the call… LOVE took a risk on the short, handsome, ruddy son of Jesse. This time, the risk paid off…
God called Peter to be an Apostle—and a leading one at that. But his character was so lacking… Satan sifted and Peter waivered, but his character shifted—until he truly behaved like a Rock rather than a blockhead. But it was risky, and there were no guarantees…!
There were others who were called to be Jesus’ disciples. Some walked away. Some gave up. One even betrayed…
True Leaders (Elders) in God’s Kingdom are marked by two pillar requirements. A CALL from God, and the Godly CHARACTER to walk in that call.
Some Elders are called first—and (hopefully) grow into a place of mature Kingdom character. These tend to be the travelling, apostolic/prophet/evangelist/pastor/teacher Elders who are called to Shepherd the greater Church. Paul is an outstanding example of a man who was called to a great ministry—but had to spend years in character-preparation before that ministry could blossom.
Other Elders are first known by the fruit of their Godly character—and then called into service. These tend to be the stationary Elders who help lead local congregations. Philemon is a good example of a man whose character allowed him to be called to leadership. (His character can be seen in the way Paul could trust him to deal rightly with Onesimus.) Paul gambled on Philemon being a man of Godly Character—and everyone won!
At the end of the day, both a CALL from God and Godly CHARACTER must be present to remain a faithful leader in the Kingdom.
It amazes me that Father CALLED me BEFORE I had the character to walk in it. I am often painfully aware that my character still falls far short of Father’s call. But I am profoundly grateful for the journey, and humbled by a Love that could take such a risk on a wretch like me!