Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You've Got to Show Them

(King) Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the musicians played and the trumpets sounded. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed. When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped.
2 Chronicles 29:27-29

These verses pretty well sum up King Hezekiah's leadership. He excelled in a quality that many lack today: public spiritual leadership. This quality enabled Hezekiah to successfully turn his people away from idol worship and back to the one, true God. Though he lived about 2,700 years ago, there's much you and I can learn from him. 

Can you imagine how much of an impact it must have made for the king to get on his knees and worship God in plain sight of his people? It's difficult for us to grasp how important a king was in those days, but I think it would be hard to exaggerate how impactful it was to see a man this powerful humble himself in worship publicly.

I know that Jesus said "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (See Matthew 6:1-6 for the full context and teaching.) But the key words here are "to be seen by them." Jesus' point is that your giving, your prayer, your worship shouldn't be performed to be seen by men. They should be directed at God. It can't be merely a show to impress other people. It shouldn't be a ruse to somehow advance people's opinion of you. But we sometimes wrongly take Jesus' teaching to mean that we should only ever worship or pray in our private prayer closets. This is not what Jesus meant and this misunderstanding of the text has contributed to the lack of spiritual leadership in the church today. 

The church needs men and women who will fall on their knees and openly, unashamedly worship God in front of those they lead. But these public acts of prayer and worship should be only a small fraction of the time you spend praying and worshiping. The bulk of the time should be kept private (between you, the Lord, and your family). Many, many people in our world (including children) need to hear their leaders pray, see their leaders give (even if they don't know how much you give), and feel the passion in their leader's worship. Many of the people in our world will never find the courage to worship God whole-heartedly until they have seen someone else live as an example before them.

We are all leaders in some respect. We are fathers, mothers, managers, shift leaders, pastors, grandparents, and mentors. God calls us to use our influence to draw others to Christ, to give them the courage to worship Him before the watching world. Do the people you lead know you worship God unashamedly? Have they seen your love for God lately?

For further reading...
  • Consider another king, King David. He also worshiped the Lord publicly and unashamedly. (see 2 Samuel 6:12-16) Moreover, his psalms often speak of publicly procaliming God's goodness in worship before all the nations. (for example see Psalm 9:11 and Psalm 105:1)

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