I've Been Thinking...

I’VE BEEN THINKING........ about a phrase I heard in a message by Bob Mumford. He is a Bible teacher that I really enjoy. And he says things very down to earth to make it easy to remember.

What he said was this, “There is a spiritual principle that is very important, called the law of mumps and measles.” You see if you say you have the mumps but you really have the measles, what other people catch is not the mumps, but the measles. In the same way, if we say we believe in Jesus and trust in Him, but follow the popular opinions of our day in order not to stand out or cause trouble, what we pass on to others is not Christ, but our own fears and unbelief. This is a scary thought.

I was reading today in Philippians, Chapter 2, that Jesus, 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. The ending is good, God exalted Him so that every knee will bow, and we’d all like to get to be a part of the ending. It’s walking out the middle, “He made Himself nothing”, part that is tough sometimes.

I was thinking about this specifically, because today at breakfast my five year old daughter asked me if I had made breakfast for Mom (my wife, her mother). I said I had not. And she said, “You are going to get in trouble. You have to make breakfast for Mom!”

Now this irritated me. The truth is, I had made breakfast for myself and all of the kids and we were just finishing up. I thought I had done pretty good for the day. And I did not care to be told by a five year old what I must do, especially something I didn’t consider to be “my” job at all. And then this morning’s verse in Philippians popped back into my mind. Why was I so irritated? Because I don’t like being referred to, or treated as a servant. Oh, dear....

In this fast paced day and age, where we’d all like to see big results and become successful in this world, and we’d like to say it’s for the glory of God, we talk a lot about leadership. In church and mission’s circles, I find that if you’re not a leader, you're a non-person, no one will want to talk to you.

When we all get together at a conference or a big meeting, we get our coffee and ask the person standing by us, “ So, what kind of ministry are you doing these days?” And we all think of the best words to sound good, “ Oh, I’m doing ministry to the homeless now,” or” I’m working in a wedding ministry, teaching young couples about marriage and relationships.” Anything that sounds good will do. And it’s really great if you can add a title in there like, “I’m leading up the church planting ministries in the overall Kansai area.” How much like Jesus have we really become?

The truth is that real godly leadership is one of the most valuable and desperately needed qualities in the world today. I spend a lot of time reading about, thinking about, and trying to learn about leadership, because we’ve got to multiply Christian leaders by the thousands if we hope to meet the needs in the world today. The problem is this scary little principle that Bob Mumford referred to in his taped message.

If we say we have the mumps, but we really have the measles, other people catch the measles and not the mumps. The way we act, talk, walk and live is our leadership. If our life is that of Christ, others will become like Christ though us. If it is not Christ but our own ambition, strengths, personality, desire for success, or fear of rejection that motivates us....others will catch that though us as well. And the bigger the circle of our leadership and influence, the more people will be effected by what we’ve got.

It’s a sobering thought. Maybe I’d better go see if my wife would like some breakfast after all.

© 2002, Warren Okerman