Passage for Study: Acts 17: 1 - 9 … Acts 17 linked for study …
2nd Passage for Study: 1st Thes. 2: 1 - 12 … 1st Thes. 2 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: If you were with me yesterday, I wrote - with Chuck Swindoll’s guidance - of the quality of vulnerability (marked by integrity, honesty, and approachable openness). Today, primarily from the passage in 1st Thes. 2: 7 - 9, as Paul focused on his and his fellow leader’s approach to preaching the Gospel and leading new Christians in that area of Greece. He even used the word picture of a mother nursing her babies to describe how he tried to lead the Thessalonians with gentleness, patience, and kindness.
The Greek word, “epios,” used by Paul for “kindness” in leadership in this passage is one Swindoll compares to two other Greek concepts in Paul’s discussion of the fruit of the Spirit (in Gal. 5: 22-23). These are the fruit of “kindness” (Greek - chrestotes) and “meekness” (Greek - prautes), which I believe are both combined when leaders need to have the quality of leadership Paul was trying to illustrate by the word picture of a mother nursing her babes.
What Swindoll is trying to teach here to those who’ve been cast into a role of leadership in their lives, perhaps in some work site or maybe in a church, is that leaders need to be strong with determination (covered a few days ago in my devotionals); but they also need to exercise that determination with sensitivity. And it’s that sensitivity which must utilize the fruit of the spirit which we call “kindness” (or gentleness) as well as “meekness” (or strength under control).
As I write this, I’m in Colorado with my wife, visiting our daughter who has a new baby boy, our first male grandchild. And so this word picture of sensitivity and gentleness Paul uses to describe his leadership, which we read in 2nd Thess. 2: 7, is clearly on display for me as our daughter and my wife do all that is necessary to meet the needs of that little baby boy, also taking into account the needs of our other two granddaughters, who vie for their attention with a new little boy in the home. It is masterful to see my wife and daughter relinquish their superiority of age and strength to be the pictures of meekness, kindness, and sensitivity depicted by Paul in his church leadership of these new baby Christians.
I could go on with this; but let me close by saying that any leadership stength must be tempered by heavy doses of sensitivity and kindness if that leader is to help shape the growth of new or developing disciples of Christ. Yesterday, I gave witness to the vulnerability of my Pastor, who is also growing into the role of meekness and kindness which he is going to need to lead our large church into the future. If you’re in a position of church or ministry leadership, as am I, I pray that we all can lead by determined vision, but also with the senstivitiy of a mother who is willing to yield her own power to the needs of her babies. May we lead with direction but with gentleness and patience as well.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I need more of the qualities described herein in leading others to become more like You. Help me be strong, but gentle, dear Lord. Help me to be like You. Amen