Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Diotrephes is Back: Part Three (final)


Love of Power

The lust for power in the ministry is equally destructive and always leads to isolation from those authorities to whom we are accountable. Diotrephes opposed John’s Apostolic leadership because he viewed others as obstacles to the furtherance of his own power and control. Verse 10 says he was “not satisfied with” mere slander, but also tried to hinder the outreach ministries of other churches. In his resentment he refused to serve a traveling band of missionaries (“…neither does he…receive the brethren” – v.10). Leaders who love control are always suspicious of others because they fear the loss of importance or status. Scripture teaches that we are never to shepherd “…as lording it over those allotted to [our] charge” (1 Peter 5:3). The sheep are a delegated responsibility from the Chief Shepherd to whom we shall give an account. When a leader does not tremble at the very thought of accountability to Christ he is left to his petty intimidations and oppressive tactics. Anyone who stood against Diotrephes became a target of his bitterness. He manipulated his own congregation, incited them to disfellowship with anyone who went against his orders. This is not leadership but personal domination! How can you know whether you have fallen into the power-hungry trap? Examine your life and look for the following evidences: Viewing others as a threat to your success; Unteachable when contradicted; Letting others be blamed for your failed decisions; Withholding important resources and information needed by others; Unwilling to delegate responsibility. These are the marks of self-centered and self-protective leadership. The body of Christ suffers greatly when shepherds are lured away by power and praise. We must work against such weaknesses by cultivating a Christ-focused heart and mind. Paul’s calling as an Apostle was not to be undermined, but he personally saw himself as a nobody (2 Corinthians 12:11). A tyrant in the ministry will foster a church full of abusers who fight each other for recognition. Loyalty to Christ is nurtured by leaders who love and promote Christ. Trust in God modeled by the leadership begets a growing faith in the hearts of the sheep. Where the elders are an example of humility, gentleness, and servanthood the flock of God flourishes in peace and safety. We must flee the seductive influence of power and praise by putting our hearts in check, forsaking any Diotrephes-like tendency, and returning once again to the servant-life. God’s people deserve the best of our stewardship.

12 Comments:

Blogger Barnabas said...

Jerry,

Your three missives on Diotrephes was challenging, convicting, and directly on the mark. Thanks for sharing this. . . The most challenging path of life is the faithful one.

Thanks,
PH

2:22 PM  
Blogger Jason E. Robertson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Jason E. Robertson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Jason E. Robertson said...

Examine your life and look for the following evidences: Viewing others as a threat to your success; Unteachable when contradicted; Letting others be blamed for your failed decisions; Withholding important resources and information needed by others; Unwilling to delegate responsibility.

Excellent admonition! These essays will find their way into my pastoral training curriculum along with C.J.'s book on Humility.

**I only wrote two sentences but could not seem to spell. Trying to hurrrry I guess:)**

4:59 PM  
Blogger Paul Lamey said...

Jerry,

This has been a great series with a big yet subtle punch.

Thank you

5:52 PM  
Blogger Caleb Kolstad said...

Jerry,

Great posts! I think the Word challenged many of us through this current series.

In light of the Matthew 6 comment.

Perhaps the principle of James 5:6 (Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed), can be understood in light of the Matthew 6:5-15 principle.

Their are definite occasions when prayer (even confession of sin) may be soley an external act of self-righteousness. Their are other times when as the MacArthur Study Bible notes, "Mutual honesty, openness, and sharing of needs will enable believers to uphold each other in the spiritual struggle." MacArthur also adds in his James commentary, "Therefore James called for mutual honesty and mutual confession (of sin) as believers pray for one another."

Your post led me to pray (first)for myself but also for my fellow ministers.

None the less a good reminder and a great series of posts.

Blessings

CK

6:41 AM  
Blogger Jerry Wragg said...

Caleb -
Didn't you notice my tongue-in-cheek tone?

My comment to you was a spoof...Sorry if I sounded serious.

Your friend

6:54 AM  
Blogger Paul Lamey said...

Ha,

Caleb, I saw that one coming. I guess I worked for Jerry too long so I know he's only serious when talking about preaching, his family, and Laker BB...and not always in that order.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Caleb Kolstad said...

The joys of the internet... I normally can tell when Phil Johnson is writing tongue in cheek but obv. I missed it with Jerry. :)

No offence taken, i just wanted to make sure my reply was not taken as some self-righteous attempt to look holier than thou. I was truly convicted and was trying to wear the shoe where appropriate.

Ditch the Lakers and join Team Shaq in Miami.

Keep posting!!!!

Caleb

9:17 AM  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Do you ever read something and wish you hadn't, because now you will be accountable for what you learned. Thanks a lot Jerry.

Just kidding. After reading these posts and listening to some of the sermons from the Shepherds Conference it is great reminder of our real purpose and where our authority comes from. It kind of made me think of Bill Cosby saying, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out". May we always remember that it is Christ has placed people in our care to shepherd.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

I also loved the Power Team pic. I escpecially like it when they say, "watch the power of Jesus, help me crack this bat over my head, while the Holy Spirit gives me breath to blow up this water bottle.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Paul Lamey said...

Jerry use to be on the "Power Volleyball Team." I think their shirts said "spike it for the King" or something like that.

4:53 PM  

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