While the most common concept of a sanctuary is related to a holy place or church building, the idea behind this week’s word is a place of refuge or safety.
Leaders should approach the concept of sanctuary from at least two perspectives: 1) the need for sanctuary themselves, and 2) providing the type of leadership where others find sanctuary.
Regardless of how long someone has been involved in leadership, there will always be times when leaders need to retreat to a place of refuge, a place of solitude where they find peace.
Also, leaders need a style of leadership that allows others who follow the opportunity to find that place of safety, a place where they can trust in their leadership to provide security.
The beauty of this word is that it applies to what God has done for us through Jesus. The writer of the book of Hebrews mentions this truth in several ways, as Jesus is superior, better, and sovereign because of who He is, what He did, and where He is now.
Let us focus on these truths as the foundation for our own leadership.
What would we consider to be the “best day ever?”
This line, from the movie Tangled, is basically quoted by people everywhere and modified to fit whatever the situation or thought.
From a spiritual leadership perspective, the idea behind the best day ever takes on a whole new meaning. The “best day ever” occurred at the resurrection of Jesus.
Yes, there is significance and application to the blood that poured forth from the side of Jesus at the crucifixion. Without the shedding of His blood, there is no forgiveness.
The best day, however, is connected to His resurrection. Here is where Jesus defeated Satan. Here is where the fear of death was removed. Here is where Jesus gave us hope of something better beyond this life.
Christianity is based on this fact! Without the resurrection, Paul describes the tragedy that exists in following Christ (1 Co. 15:12-19).
When we consider the resurrection of Jesus with this hope in view everything changes in the way we lead others.
There is something worth living and dying for…because He lives!
There is something worth leading others for…because He lives!
“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot — it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” Maya Angelou
We have considered the power of positive and negative influences or experiences in the past. The intent is not to reiterate the ideas that were expressed at that time.
This thought stands out because it is inclusive of everything that influences us. It is not uncommon to hear someone say that watching inappropriate movies, listening to vulgar or offensive jokes, and participating in certain activities do not influence them.
The contrary is true. The more we are exposed to areas we should not be around, the more we find ourselves drifting from the solid foundation upon which our experiences in life should be built.
This is not to say we should develop a monastery and separate ourselves from ever having contact with the world, but it does mean we need to give consideration to those experiences and strive to have the kind of experiences that drive us to greater godliness.
The question posed is challenging because the perception we want to have is that, as Christians, we are influencing the world, but are we?
Jesus was clear in His description of disciples as the salt of the earth and light of the world. These two terms are significant because they influence the realm in which they are applied. We also know that the analogy, when applied to Christianity, is the same. We are to be an influence in the world.
Christian influence is determined by words, attitudes, conduct / behavior, and activities. We need to consider who exactly we are influencing?
The mindset that often pervades our approach is that we need to participate as close to the line of worldliness as possible in order to have this influence.
Christians have been known to select a non-Christian spouse with this in mind.
Time is spent in developing friendships with this thought.
Sadly, the influence is often reversed and Christians are drawn away from their convictions into activities they never dreamed before, rather than changing the world by their influence.
Let us keep a close check on who is influencing who.
David Schwartz authored a book by this title years ago. The design of this post is not to address the nature of his book, but the idea behind the title is worth considering.
Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus references God’s power to dwell in the realm beyond all we ask or think.
The tendency for most leaders is to think too small (I fit this category). We can excuse it with a number of reasons, but we often place God in a box where we limit Him by thinking He will not do something because we are convinced we cannot do it.
We need to stop placing these limitations on God and start thinking big, at least bigger than we have in the past.
We know God’s desire for the world and we must not think the task of world evangelism is impossible. Nor should we think we are unable to accomplish this task.
God has equipped us with the people and the tools to get the job done. It is up to us to start planning how we can work together to achieve the goal.
To be constructive is to be involved in something that is useful with a tendency to build up. The thought behind this concept is powerful when applied to the field of leadership.
When leaders are constructive, life and leadership change before them.
Constructive leaders are characterized by several key qualities.
They have a vision for what is right, rather than what is wrong.
They possess an understanding of what is beneficial, as opposed to harmful.
They provide tools to assist followers in reaching their potential, not holding them back.
They are driven by the desire to achieve the good of others before focusing on themselves.
These four ideas are just a beginning point when thinking about the nature of constructive leadership. The characteristics listed are four reasons why constructive leaders are defined by their usefulness to others and the overall organization.
When the church is led by a constructive leadership, growth to maturity in a spiritual sense and numerical growth through their influence on the church will naturally go hand in hand.
The time to consider how to be more constructive is worth it.
At the beginning of a race, the idea of focusing on the finish line does not always seem natural.
Yet, the finish line is what must be in the mind of the participant. Without knowing where the finish line is and keeping it in full view, the following occurs:
1) The motivation for starting and enduring is eliminated because there is no purpose to begin. Why would anyone want to begin something when there is no reason?
2) The preparation suffers for the same reasons. What should someone prepare for if there is no reason to prepare and no reward for the effort?
3) The direction is nonexistent. Without a finish line to focus on there is no way to have direction. Instead, we tend to wander around in circles.
Leaders have an incredible task before them because they have the responsibility of helping others see the finish line. When this is accomplished, people are motivated; they prepare properly for the journey; and they have a vision of where to go and how to get there.
Consider what God has done for us and lead with that in mind.