FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
April 22, 2016
Today’s psalm: Psalm 2:6-11
Many, perhaps even most, servant leaders that I know, throughout the world, have a hard time accepting correction. They consider it an affront, a criticism, an insult, an unloving act, a rejection. They then react by sulking (in Pilipino, tampo), together with anger, antagonism, being discouraged, lying low, even quitting the service or even the community.
Fraternal correction of course is a very loving act. It is intended to help the person being corrected to see the error of his ways, or the shortcomings of his service, so that he can become a better Christian and servant.
The psalmist tells the king being installed: “Accept correction” (v.11b).
What should be the proper and Christian response to fraternal correction (we are assuming the one correcting is also acting as a Christian brother), especially for servant leaders? It is to receive the correction wholeheartedly and with joy. If one feels the correction is unjustified, it is proper to ask for further clarification, but with respect and much openness and a desire to be better. Then the one corrected must be grateful, that the one correcting is loving enough to take the risk in correction out of a desire to be of real help.
To be a servant leader is a wonderful privilege from God. It is also a great responsibility and the servant leader is accountable. One is called to do God’s divine work, and given leadership over God’s people who participate in the work. Thus such a one must be warned. “And now, kings, give heed; take warning, judges on earth. Serve the Lord with fear; exult with trembling” (v.10-11a). Be in awe of our great God, and be in awe of the great responsibility given to you.
We all make mistakes. We all are imperfect. In fact, we all are sinners. If not for the mercy and grace of God, we would be totally lost, and certainly unable and unfit and unworthy to serve Him. So it is a continuing effort on our part, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be and do better. If we do not accept and embrace correction, we cannot do better. Rather, we will sink deeper into the mire of our errors. To avoid that, then we “accept correction lest he become angry and you perish along the way when his anger suddenly blazes up.” (v.11b). Then, from the lofty (but humble) heights of being God’s servant leader, one will plunge to the depths, at the receiving end of God’s wrath. What a tragedy that would be.
Correction is God’s gift to us, especially to servant leaders. God is concerned about His work, which leaders oversee, and about His people, whom leaders care for. If they veer away, God calls on other servant leaders to help put them on the right track, through correction. It is unfortunate that this very important gift is being rejected or not wholly embraced.
“Blessed are they who take refuge in him!” (v.11c). And blessed are they who accept correction.
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