I am always deeply impressed by the “heart” of a true spiritual leader! Once again in my Bible reading today I read a passage that articulated the values and concerns of such a person – in this case the Apostle Paul. Here’s what he wrote to the church in Colossae…
“I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you (and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face), that your hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:1–5 ESV)
Here are the key things that impressed me today about authentic spiritual leaders…
- The deep, deep concern they have for the spiritual welfare of others
- The desire they have for love to dominate the relationship of those they lead, “knitting together” their hearts
- The longing they have for God’s people to come to know Christ in a personal, deep, intimate way (because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are found in Him)!
- The concern they have that those they lead not be deceived and deluded by false doctrine (even if it comes couched in “plausible arguments”)
- The joy it brings them when they see “good order” and “firmness of faith” in Christ Jesus among those they lead.
As a boy growing up I was privileged to have had two pastors who evidenced these kinds of passions. Today I honor them… Pastor Leon Mitchell (deceased) and Pastor Kenneth Peterson. Thank you, gentlemen for being that kind of spiritual leader (“pastor”) and evidencing those kinds of values! Listen, if you have (or have had) that kind of spiritual leader you have been blessed indeed!
Oh… one final word: Just reporting – I passionately want to be that kind of spiritual leader!