PAUL: A LEADER TELLS THE TRUTH (3)
We have been looking at leadership lessons from Paul when he was a prisoner being taken to Rome (Acts 27:1 – 28:10). In the first blog we saw a leader is someone who must be trusted. Then we saw that a leader must initiate. Now we’ll learn more lessons in leadership from Paul.
- A GODLY LEADER IS STRONG DURING DIFFICULT TIMES Although Paul didn’t think it was the right thing to do, the captain and owner of the ship both decided to sail. They wanted to get to a better place to spend the winter until they could go the rest of the way to Rome. They only needed to go 40 miles, and it seemed like a safe gamble (Acts 27:11-13). After they started the short trip the weather quickly changed and a hurricane swept over them (Acts 27:14-15). They couldn’t control the direction of the ship and did all they could to keep the ship from sinking, even throwing all the cargo and equipment overboard to lighten the ship (Acts 27:16-19).
The storm continued without stopping for many days. Everyone was awake trying to help keep the ship afloat. It was impossible to eat or sleep. At any moment the ship could break apart and they would drown. The emotional and physical stress was tremendous, and after many days of this they were exhausted and gave up hope of surviving (Acts 27:20-21a).
It was at this time that Paul’s leadership instincts came into play. He stood up and reminded everyone that if they had listened to him they wouldn’t have had this happen (Acts 27:21). He wasn’t trying to show that he was right and they were wrong, he wanted them to realize he knew what he was talking about. They didn’t listen to him before, but now maybe they would. Paul tells everyone to not fear dying, for God had assured him that they would all survive. The ship would be lost, but they would be safe (Acts 27:22-24). Paul believed what God told him and confidently passed it on to the others. He wasn’t expecting people to follow him, but to trust and follow God. God had spoken, and what He said would come about.
Are you able to declare God’s truth, especially during difficult times? Can you call people to follow God and trust in His Word and promises? Are you able to clearly discern God’s leading for you and your ministry so you can pass it on to others? Do you stick to it no matter how difficult the circumstances become? Can you lead with authority because you know it is God who is leading and you are just following Him (Matthew 7:28-29)?
- A GODLY LEADER ENCOURAGES OTHERS A godly leader always tries to encourage and build up the people he leads. He doesn’t criticize, scold, or get angry with them. We all respond to encouragement better than criticism. That’s how God Himself deals with us as well. That’s what Paul did with the people on the ship, even though their refusal to listen to his advice got them into this situation. He encouraged them by affirming his trust in God (Acts 27:25-26). He set an example of one who wasn’t afraid, but believed in God and trusted His promises.
Paul gave the people hope that they would live. He looked beyond the current circumstances to what God had promised. He was open and honest with the people, and they respected and trusted him.
That doesn’t mean Paul never corrected people, for he did (Galatians 2:11-14). But he did by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Jesus says we are to go to the person in private first, not bring it up in public unless he refuses to repent (Matthew 18:15-18). Even then, the whole purpose is to restore, not condemn. That’s what God does with us (Romans 8:1).
Do people come to you for encouragement during difficult times? Are you good at encouraging people? Do you do what you can to help even those who haven’t taken your advice and have gotten into trouble because of it? Are you able to privately correct others in love? Can you control your anger and frustration, replacing it with compassion and sympathy? Are you able to treat others the way God treats you?
PRAYER REQUEST I had the opportunity to speak to a group of pastors and leaders on Zoom last week. It was at a 3-day conference in India. I taught the book of 1 Timothy. God blessed us and used the conference to encourage and help each of us. Please pray for me as I write a short series of blogs from those sessions. I will then send you the blogs. Thanks.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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