“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:13-18, NIV).
My wife and I talked with a good friend recently who is a devoted follower of Jesus. She has not been going to church regularly for a few years. This is not for lack of desire for fellowship; it is not because of a rebellious spirit; it is because of a decided lack of spiritual leadership in our local churches here in our neck of the woods in the Northeast part of our country. The wise and understanding ones, according to James, will exhibit this wise understanding by “deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” Our friend’s number one complaint concerning the churches where she and her husband have tried to connect and serve is that there is very little if any humility among the leadership in these churches. Just to be clear, this is not a church-hopping couple. They are seasoned Christians who served faithfully in a church for probably 20 years before the church was imploded by a wolf in sheep’s clothing over 10 years ago. They connected with a couple of churches over the next 5 years or so but their spiritual wounds were never addressed to any degree. Their shepherds apparently were more concerned with maintaining the programs at their respective churches than pro-actively addressing the real pain and scars of our friends after the collapse of the church where she was saved and in which she and her husband served faithfully and raised their kids in the “fear and admonition of the Lord.” No healing balm of Gilead for them or the dozens who were displaced due to the “wolf.” Many have sought healing and shelter at our church. I must confess there has not been any united effort to address the pain and angst and spiritual confusion of those who came to our church. I served as chairman of our elder board at one time. I did nothing to address the situation. Granted, it was several years after the initial breakup of the other church. Nevertheless, I did not exercise wisdom in seeing that there was healing that still needed to occur even years later. Guilty as charged and ashamed of it. So, these brothers and sisters in Christ have been left to heal on their own, just them and the Lord. He is more than capable to bring healing. However, His plan is to build His church and part of that building process is to have the church be a pro-active healing center, not a corporation maintaining programs; an organism, not just an organization. If the leadership has not been proactive in addressing the need for healing in this situation, which I believe is the case, why is it? I would submit that it is because the leadership in our local churches has for the most part forgotten what the Scripture says about true leadership. True leadership is defined by the example of the Truth, Jesus Christ: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:6-8). This is our example.
Where are our humble shepherds? Where are the pastors/priests/rectors who have the courage and the strength to lead in humility? Where are our examples? I know there are some, but I personally am having a hard time finding very many. Our nation, one nation under God, should be full of them.