October 2, 2015 • Life for Leaders
The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.’”
When Abram and his retinue, including his nephew, Lot, returned to the land of Canaan from Egypt, they ran into a problem of abundance. Abram’s livestock was so abundant, and Lot’s livestock was so abundant, that the land simply could not support them all. This led to conflict between Abram’s herders and Lot’s herders. Abram determined that he and Lot should separate geographically. But, instead of taking the best land for himself, Abram let Lot choose, and he took the land that appeared to be the most lush. Abram, trusting God, settled in Canaan, the place to which God had led him. After Abram made this gracious and faithful choice, the Lord spoke to him, promising great blessing, including the blessing of land. Thus, God affirmed Abram in his leadership.
This story reminds me of a situation faced by my friend Dave. Dave was the pastor of a church near a large college. His church had hired an outstanding college pastor, who helped to draw hundreds of collegians to the church. This was, of course, a great encouragement to Dave and his congregation, not to mention a wonderful ministry to the students.
But, one day the college pastor announced to Dave that he was leaving the church, starting a new church nearby, and taking all of his students with him. This news was deeply disappointing to Dave and devastating to the church’s ministry to students. As Dave brought his disappointment to the Lord, God spoke to his heart in a most unexpected way, asking Dave to support his college pastor both personally and in his effort to plant a new church. As you might expect, Dave found this difficult to do, yet he acted in obedience to God, much to the surprise of his departing college pastor and his congregation.
In the months after the college pastor left, Dave met with him, prayed with him, and mentored him. Dave’s church prayed for the new church in their community, the church that had once been Dave’s college group. Meanwhile, Dave hired a new college pastor and began a new college ministry from scratch.
A couple of years later, the new church was thriving, partly due to the support of Dave and his church. And what happened to that church’s college ministry? It was larger and stronger than before. The net result was that hundreds of additional college students were being ministered to as they engaged in intentional community in both the new church and Dave’s church.
I know it doesn’t always work out this way. God is sovereign and his blessings flow from his inscrutable wisdom. But, if we live and lead with generosity and faithfulness, God will bless us in our lives and in our work. Sometimes his blessings will come in ways that can be counted. Other times his blessings will be less obvious, but equally real, as God forms us to be more like him.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever experienced anything like Dave’s story? If so, when?
In what ways is your leadership generous? In what ways is it faithful?
How might you lead differently today if you modeled your leadership upon Abram in Genesis 13?
Gracious God, thank you for your amazing blessings. Thank you for blessing Abram in Genesis 13. Thank you for blessing Dave in his season of crisis. Thank you for blessing me, again and again, through your superabundant grace.
O Lord, in my leadership, may I imitate your graciousness. And, in my leadership, may I be faithful, putting my trust in you even, and especially, when it’s difficult to do so.
Great is your faithfulness, Lord! Amen.
Photo Credit: Photo by Foundry via CC0 Public Domain and pixabay.com.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.