The Heart of Godly Leaders
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Paul had come under some fierce persecution at Philippi, and was being maligned by others as preaching for personal gain, flattering his hearers and twisting the gospel to try and please men. He defends his practice to the Thessalonian church, by reminding them of their gentle admonition, and fatherly approach, and that they worked night and day to not be a burden to them financially. Matt gave us 5 ‘Nots’ that Paul spoke into, that can help us in our own leadership behaviour whatever your role within the church.
1. Not Afraid of Hard work (v 9 - 10) (2 Thess 3:7-10)
Paul worked as a tent-maker night and day to provide for himself so that he couldn’t be accused of preaching for profit. It is important that we have a good work ethic, and are not lazy towards secular work. Let’s beware of a ‘laissez-faire’ casualness towards providing not only well for ourselves and our families, but also so that we can be generous towards others and God’s work.
2. Not people–pleasers (v 3 - 6)
We live to please God, not other people. We are constrained by what God has given us in His word, like Interior design masters God is the designer, we follow His creativity and don’t twist scripture to be more acceptable to our hearers.
3. Not demanding our rights (v 6)
Paul does speak elsewhere about the labourer being worthy of his hire (1 Tim 5:18); however here Paul is making the point that in planting the church they weren’t a burden to them financially. Their attitude was not demanding their rights, which they could have done, but living as examples winning them over. We need to win people by our behaviour, not by citing our credentials.
4. Not Harsh (v 7; 11-12)
There is a way we say things that can be impatient, brusque and demanding; or gentle, caring and patient. Paul uses two metaphors one of a nursing mother, in how gentle she is with her infant and the father in exhorting, encouraging and imploring his child. Both are important in handling others.
5. Not Aloof (v 8)
We see that Paul had a deep affection for the members of the church, he wasn’t like some business exec, who had no contact with those in his care. We need to stay connected, have a deep love for each other, form relationships that allow each other to share what we are struggling with. It is important that our culture never becomes corporate and impersonal, we are a family on mission together.
- What were the key points that spoke to you from this preach?
- How can we encourage the church to be more gentle, personable and connected to each other?
- Talk about one time when someone really helped you in your faith, drawing attention to 'how’ they communicated well with you.
- Paul talks of 3 verbs Exhorting, encouraging and imploring; give examples of how we could utilise each one with a non-Christian seeking to know about Christ, and then a discipleship scenario with a person you are trying to mentor.
- Working hard is highly valued by Paul; what do you think this means for you?