Leaders and Spiritual Gifts
My father was a strong man in many good ways. In some ways he was not strong. In other ways he was too strong. If he knew something was wrong, he did not do it. He could and did stand alone. Even if everyone else did wrong, he would not. He communicated that strength to me.
In some other ways he was too strong. He was the undisputed head of our home. He would not allow my mother to work outside the home anywhere, anytime, for any reason. He was the head of the home and he made the decisions. There was no whining. There was no challenge. There was no appeal. He made the decisions and we abode by his decisions.
My father was from a poor farm family. My mother was from a business family. My father did not know how to manage money. My mother did know how to manage money. She was not allowed to even know the family finances until they sometimes got so dire that it was impossible for Dad to hide the situation from her. It made her life very difficult.
My mother was a gift from God to my father. If he had honored and encouraged and employed her gift, we would have been a healthier, wealthier, and happier home. After my father died, my mother had enough money. The income stayed the same. The management changed.
Businesses, homes, missions, churches and schools have leaders. Leaders are given gifts in the lives of the people in their organizations. This is especially important in the Church. God says in Ephesians chapter four, that Christ has placed gifts in the Church. Those gifts are to be used to equip the members in the Church so they become Christ-like and mature.
Leaders need to submit to God’s plan because God has placed the gifts in the Church. Leaders need to submit to God and accept the gifts God gives. The gifts need to be recognized, encouraged, and employed for the health of the group of believers.
My father was a hard worker. He worked so many hours that I scarcely knew him. He loved us and was well intentioned but not always well directed. Our family suffered because of that. The Church has leaders who work hard. They care and are well intentioned. They feel a need to stay in control and sometimes do not notice the gifts God has placed in their care.
It would not have diminished my father’s authority to allow my mother’s gift to be used in our family. His principle was right but his application was wrong. It does not diminish Church leaders’ authority to allow and encourage Spiritual gifts to be employed in the fellowship.
Henry Ford was unbelievably successful. He would make a car any color you wanted as long as it was black. He was unyielding. Eventually his control had to yield to wiser minds or his company would have failed.
The Church today could be far more effective. With the same members, evangelism and teaching and ministry could be far more effective. It would not diminish the authority of the leaders to employ the gifts God has placed in their congregations. It would simply increase the ministry. Church politics causes the members suffer (like my family). Under careful God-given shepherding, the members thrive (like my family could have).
Where are you in this picture? You can be too controlling. You can be too passive. Leaders in the home, school, church, business have a responsibility to be leaders. Leaders notice and employ the gifts that God has given to them and to the ministry they lead. Leaders equip their members to serve.
Be a shepherd, in the home and in the Church. Do not lord it over the flock. God has placed gifts in His body, the Church. Recognize and employ the blessings of those gifts. That is what makes the body work effectively. It is what would have made our family work better.
Our father would have benefitted from the gifts of our mother. If only he could have seen her talents as a gift from God and not as a challenge to his position of authority.