DBU Oxford Seminar Day 7

Key themes encountered:


Incarnational Courage


Charles Simeon; Patience and Perseverance, Raising Up Leaders

            It is quite a conundrum that we Christians who are called to live so humbly can spend so much of our energies concentrated on leadership. I am not saying that humility and leadership are incompatible but that often an individual who has been given high levels of leadership is tempted by conceit and pride. How refreshing, however, to have heard the story of Curate Charles Simeon who, though some would argue was forced to embrace humility seeing that he was never promoted to greater levels of influence, never endeavored for more than what God had given him. As he noted:

            A servant of the Lord should not strive.

            What a difficult concept to consume nowadays when notions of personal initiative, resilience, hard work, and efficacy prevail. It is easy to read the narratives of the Bible and interpret them through our lens. We see David confront Goliath and we say he was brave and strong-willed; we encounter Elijah with the prophets of Baal and declare he was confident and daring; and we see Peter step into the sea and conclude he was a man of initiative. Yet in all these instances, and in a hundred other stories in the Scriptures, there is a more umbrella-like theme which could be argued moved our Hebraic heroes to action: obedience.

            Obedience. Obedience to the will of God, to his request, to his motives and to his heart. What greater reason exists as to why I should step into my calling? What other motive must move me to perform faithfully in all my duties? What grander cause could I ever suggests as a fairer and nobler justification as to why I should and as to why I am able to endure danger and hardships, hunger and poverty?

            Let God bring me low. Let God exalt me. Whether I lead 10 men or 10,000 cannot be determined or brought about by anything I could do except one thing: to obey the will of the Lord. When he asks me to pray, I will pray; when he requests of me my wealth, I will give; and when there is some fleshly part of me that he desires of me to relinquish, I will die to myself. But let me not strive for any goal no matter how noble it appears to me. As a leader, may I strive to do one thing alone, to follow and obey the will of the one who sends and the one who commands.