REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 14, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
Malachi 2:6-9 (ESV)
“True instructionwas in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”
The day before my departure from Vietnam back to the States, the news of Asiana Airlines crash at the San Francisco airport inundated the internet. The smooth 12-hour flight was all over in 10 seconds when the plane crashed into a seawall, resulting in three fatalities and over 160 injured. While the exact cause is still inconclusive, the safety board found that the pilot’s inexperience and unfamiliarity with the aircraft contributed to his lapse over speed-control system.
This tragedy again demonstrates the critical nature of leadership, which also concerned Malachi, who prophesied about 100 years after the Jews had returned from Persia where there were exiled for a long time. The returnees, after building the new temple, had hoped to restore the monarchy but that never materialized. With a vacuum of political leadership, the role of priests became weightier.
Besides regulating the sacrifices, they also instructed people with God’s word, except in this case, they willfully didn’t. The priests tolerated, maybe even tacitly encouraged, the offering of inferior animals to God. Was this their way of ingratiating themselves with the people, by helping them save “money,” so that they would be liked? They also showed partiality in their teaching, perhaps implying that while the rich were treated with deference, the poor were held in contempt (James 2:1-6). While the priests might have gained popularity with some people, their leadership and teaching caused many to stumble in their faith. So, what does the pilot error and wayward priests have in common? Leadership matters and bad leadership can inflict great damage.
Do you hold any kind of leadership position at work or at church? If you are a parent, you are already a leader at home. How should you lead? Paul said this: “If a man’s gift . . . is leadership, let him govern diligently” (Rom. 12:8). So, work hard; don’t cut corners; say “No” to easy money; love and empower those entrusted to you instead of manipulating or lording it over them. And “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith . . . so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:2) in your leadership. Follow the Leader even as we lead.
Prayer: My King and Lord, I will sing of your love and justice this morning. You are my leader, my Great Shepherd, and the head of the church. It is a great honor to represent you so that the unbelieving world will have an opportunity to see how awesome and marvelous you really are. Lord, use me in such a way that people around me will know and believe in your Son. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today:Ezekiel 21
Lunch Break Study
Read John 13:14-5: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
1 Peter 5:2-3: “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”
1 Cor. 13:4-6: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
James 3:1 (ESV): “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Questions to Consider
- If we are in leadership of any capacity, how should we lead?
- Why should we approach leadership with utmost care and caution?
- Today is Valentine’s Day in which love is emphasized. How is the kind of love promoted on this day different from the kind of love a leader should have for his (her) people?
- First, we should lead by example; we should lead willingly; we should lead eagerly. We shouldn’t lead merely with words; we shouldn’t lead by threats and coercion; we shouldn’t lead for personal profit.
- Because bad leaders can cause people to go astray, God will judge them more strictly. It’s better not to lead than to lead with bad intentions or inaccurate teachings that cause people to stumble. Whether it is teaching Sunday school or leading a small group, we should do it diligently so that people are led toward the right direction. If we are being slothful, then God won’t be pleased.
- Whereas the love accentuated on this day is romantic, feeling love, the love that Paul wrote about is action-love. A leader should lead with love: being patient and kind toward those who are under him and not being rude or irritable toward them.
Most people hold some type of leadership position. A Sunday school teacher who teaches a group of toddlers certainly is a leader. In light of that, did you encounter a situation today in which you taught someone, explained something, or demonstrated through examples? Did anyone see Christ in you today while you were doing that? Briefly reflect on how the day went today. Pray.