July 11, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Pastor Jonathan Lee, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Samuel 12:1-5
* Reflect on the statement “I have been your leader from my youth until this day” followed by the statement, “The LORD is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”   What would it take for me to be able to say something like this at the end of my life?  What can I learn from Samuel?
As a leader myself, Samuel’s confident statement is something I want to be able to utter at the end of my service to the Lord.  In recent years, so many leaders (politicians, business executives, and even some religious leaders) have disgracefully fallen to corruption, vices, and sins.  More than ever, the world needs faithful and blameless leaders who end well.  How
did Samuel remain blameless all those years?  As I consider what it would take for me to say something like this, there are several things that come to mind.

First, I need to see the consequences of failed leadership.  Samuel must have seen the tragic end of Eli and the many past judges who failed to obey God’s words (as highlighted in the book of Judges).  Learning from the mistakes of others ought to lead us to not make those same mistakes ourselves.

Second, as John Wesley famously said, I need to “Fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God.”  There are a lot of fears that would lead to grasping for oneself; there is fear of not having enough money, fear of losing a job, fear of being all alone to fend for oneself, etc.  And giving into those fears would lead a person to grab onto other sources/means of security, even if that means giving into temptation and sins.  Samuel must have seen from the way people gave into their fears and the tragic outcome that followed (e.g., Eli giving into his fear of confronting his sons) that he should fear disobedience to God as the greatest thing to fear.  Samuel must have also known firsthand how a life of devotion, dedication, and dependence upon God is blessed and that God will surely provide and help as Ebenezer (e.g., God providing for his mother).

Third, I need to remember my identity before God as someone God has set apart for good works of service to the Lord.  Samuel was dedicated and consecrated for such work.  That was his primary identity.  For me (as well as all those who has been entrusted with the precious gospel), our primary identity is to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Bearing his name as a Christian, I ought to faithfully represent Christ to everyone around me. Practically speaking, it helps tremendously to have safeguards and guardrails through accountability structures set in place.  This is where the body of Christ in church can be one-another’s keeper to the glory and praise of God per Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.”

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