Stop Cursing the Darkness, O Reluctant Leader!

Posted on August 26, 2011

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I met a friend earlier in the week just to talk and catch up.  I tend to spend a lot of quiet time by myself, so when I get the opportunity to speak to an actual human being, I have a tendency to monopolize the conversation.  I don’t set out to do this, it just happens. This was the case with my recent opportunity to catch up with my friend.  I had so many things on my mind that I was excited about and before I knew it, I was sharing this and that and everything else.  I think I came across a bit overwhelming.  I am certainly not proud about this and on the way home I experienced the familiar pangs of regret.  I recommitted myself to asking questions and listen more next time.

Forest at Sunset

I am a talker by nature.  In classes, especially smaller one, I tended to be the one frequently raising his hand to share an insight, ask a question or to challenge the teacher and/or the class.  I rarely talk in class these days.  There are several reasons for it:

  • Personal Insight: Frequently the insight or epiphanies I am get in the course of learning or group discussion, just seem to resonate with me.   Sometimes what I consider to be extremely profound is just received with stony silence and blank faces.  I opt now just to write the concept down in my notes for further exploration on later.  We are all in different places; no better or worse, just different places.
  • Personal Therapy: There is a tendency for certain folks to attempt to buttress their own wounded egos by talking more than the instructor does or derailing the class with their own personal agendas.  Many of whom are what I would call one-trick ponies.  They just keep bringing up and beating that same dead horse.  Nothing changes.  I have been this person and occasionally I return to being this kind of person.  I must be ever wary.
  • All You Ever Do is Talk Talk: There is a danger in talking about something.  The danger is that for many of us, all that we do is talk and wring our hands about an issue.  Instead of actually doing something about it, we seem to be able to satiate the awareness of some wrong by merely talking about it or crying about it or by bringing it up over and over and over again.   It is as if we’ve feel like we’ve actually accomplished something, but we haven’t.  We’ve only talked about it.  The reality is that it comes across self-serving, as if, I’ve done my part by notifying you, now it’s on you to work out the solution to the problem.  I no longer have to think or act, just hit ‘rewind and play’ over and over again until you do something about it.  The problem is that nothing gets done.  It accomplished nothing. This is what I want to explore today.

I was in a group discussing Richard Stearns book, ‘The Hole in the Gospel’.  It’s a powerful yet sobering book, which everyone should read.  In the class an individual, obviously moved by the poverty and suffering around the world, lamented repeatedly week after week about the failing of the church to address poverty adequately.  A dollar amount was regularly brought up which represented what the churches in America bring in and why that wasn’t being used to attack world poverty.  Repeatedly the cry went out, why isn’t anyone doing something about this?

This is the problem with modern church culture…perhaps with modern culture altogether.  We talk and expect God or Bill Gates to do something about it.  We are very good at identifying needs and problems, but we are very poor at looking for answers within ourselves.  We prefer to point our finger at other people and organizations and cry out because they are not doing something that God has called us to do. The real question we should be asking is; why aren’t we doing what we were called to do?

SPIRITUAL TRUTH: If God makes you aware of something; He’s calling you to do something about it.  You don’t have to solve the problem or even do something grand, it can be something very small, but it needs to be something.

It got me thinking about how things might have been different in the Bible, if they had the same modern cultural perspective as we today.  I thought about David and Goliath.  David was a young boy and not a soldier.  He was bringing food to the battlefront for his older brothers.  Upon arrival, God makes him aware of a problem.  No one is responding to Goliath’s repeated taunts and mockery towards the Hebrews and their God.

What does young David do?  He first tries to raise awareness and challenge others to respond to the situation properly.  Someone needs to do something, but in the face of no action, by leadership or the people in positions of authority to do something, David has a choice.  He can:

  1. Rant and wail over and over again at each council meeting, pointing his finger at Saul and angrily demanding to know why Saul isn’t doing what he should be doing.
  2. Subvert the authority of the King and other government leaders, by spreading malicious gossip and accusations amongst the people, stirring up discontent and distrust.
  3. Leave Israel in disgust and be consumed with bitterness towards Israel, slandering them to every accommodating ear, attempting to medicate his own hurt at being rejected and not listened to.
  4. Leave Israel quietly without stirring up contention and strife, pray for Gods guidance and direction for Saul.
  5.  Step up and take ownership for his God given awareness of what needed to be done.

*On a side note:  the same options above are available to disgruntled church goers, who are not happy with the direction of their body of believers, usually because it doesn’t align with their own desires.  Think about it?  How many of the folks (especially those who are no longer attending your church) chose to do items: 1, 2, or 3 (see above), when they probably should have chosen: 4 or 5?

David was a reluctant leader.  That is not a bad thing.  He did not aspire to rule Israel, but in the absence of true leadership, he stepped up and filled that vacuum and he did a fantastic job.  The problem today, is that we prefer to curse the darkness instead of bringing the light.  Why?  Cursing the darkness asks nothing of us.  It’s easy.  We can filibuster against abortion, sex trafficking, drug use, immorality, etc. but the reality is that all of our combined hot air will never comfort or house an unwed, pregnant girl or care for her and her child; it will never trek into the dark streets and alleys to liberate a young teen trapped in sex trafficking or free a person enslaved to drugs and help them establish a stable environment from which to rebuild their lives.  It’s just talk and we’ve had our fill of that.

Bringing the light requires action on our part.  It costs us something.  It requires us to invest ourselves and be accountable with a willingness to assume leadership and be the responsible party, committed to seeing the task to the end.  These are concepts that terrify our modern sensibilities. People may be willing to follow a leader and live on the fringe, but they tend to have one foot out the door, just in case things start to go bad.  It is getting harder to find the person, like young David, who is willing to step up, make the commitment, be responsible and invest themselves into the mission, even reluctantly because someone needs to do it and no one else is stepping up.

I encourage you (and remind myself) that anytime you find yourself starting to ‘Curse the Darkness’ and point your finger at others to do something that God has made you personally aware of, you need to take a step back and examine your heart (or as my daughter says, you better check yourself, before you wreck yourself) because God is providing you with the opportunity for you to do something.  He might even be calling you (the reluctant leader) to step up and fill a leadership vacuum.  Why?  Because He made you aware of it and no one else seems willing.  Be faithful to it and your life will never be the same again.

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