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Love, And NOT Position Or Office

February 6, 2016

Greetings,

               “Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—”– Philemon 1:8-9 (NIV)

                Paul could have used positional authority (he was an apostle, after all), but instead he appealed to Philemon on the basis of love.  Positional authority will produce results at times, but not changed attitudes or hearts.  Wrestling with all of the dynamics that maintain a loving relationship is more challenging, but in the long run it produces results and fruit that go well beyond the task at hand—it gives us a perspective that will guide us for the rest of our lives.
                Positional authority in the church is never a good thing.  It divides and separates the Body instead of drawing us closer together in Christ.  On numerous occasions Paul makes it extremely clear that it was not a good thing to use positional authority.  Paul even refused to take the right of pay from the church saying it would “discredit” or “hinder” The Gospel, even though he could have claimed that right as an apostle.  In other places he said not to take food from others because if you did not work you should not eat, and that he never ate anyone’s food that he did not pay for.  Paul seemed to understand and completely grasp that he was PART of the Body of Christ, but not a HEAD or a Leader who had extra special rights or position that no one should ever take under the New Covenant.  In the Old Covenant Levitical Priests were compensated because of the hard work they did preparing sacrifices and maintaining the temple.  However, in the New Covenant Jesus is THE sacrifice, our bodies are the temple, and every follower of Christ is a priest and servant.
                Paul made tents and paid his own way so that he could share the Gospel without any strings attached or messy complications.  I feel that this is quite admirable and an example we all should follow today.  Technically, by the letter of the Law, Paul could have demanded the rights that his position called for.  Yet he did not, so that he could be a mere brother in good standing AMONG all of Christ’s Body and NOT a LEADER ABOVE everyone else.
                Paul made this appeal on the basis of love and not position.  This is the example that I want to follow and emulate.  Even as a parent I would rather explain where I am coming from in love to my children, instead of making a demand due to my position as their father.  And when it is time to make decisions within the Body of Christ I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the Body and share only my portion of the process, making not demands, but rather suggestions from my unique perspective and point of view.  Just as the rest of the Body is free to do.
                 The thing I value most in life and in the church is relationship.  I feel that having some sort of positional authority takes a lot away from relationship, so I simply refuse to go there.  I always want my motivation to be LOVE and NOT position.  I do not want to leverage others because I have some sort of special role to play, because in fact we all in the Body of Christ are special, vital and important to the life and well-being of the church.  So I will continue to make appeals and give suggestions as the Holy Spirit leads me, but I will not give edicts or demands.  This seems to be working well for me and all the relational home fellowships I now relate with, so I am not about to change my role as a sibling and peer to those I love and serve.  I sincerely hope I have given you all food for thought today.
                 Love and ……
 Kirk Out !
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14 Comments
  1. Once again I apologize for the formatting of this blog post. WordPress would not allow me to publish this post with proper paragraph breaks. In order to make it more readable I was able to insert severe indentations. I hope that makes it easier to read.

  2. Rich Chamberlin permalink

    Ill say this one more time than that’s it – Christ Spirit leadership is , must be based on character – so if writing loving, concerned letters to city church, or writing loving concerned blog – leadership is derived from : experience, personal progress, commitment, drive or determination, deep love for God, his plan and his people. Or so I have seen, do with this as you will God bless us all.

    • Rich, it all starts with fully surrendering our entire lives and very core being to Christ. Only when we have humbled ourselves in such a manner can Christ use us freely to love and serve others.

  3. Jewell Price permalink

    Jesus told us how to be a “leader”……..Lower yourself to be the servant.

  4. Beautiful. Makes so much sense that Christs body would be beautiful, relational, and loving…not certain parts leading.

    • Yes Sue, when the Body of Christ flows together with each unique part allowed to do its own special purpose under the Headship of Jesus it is indeed a very beautiful thing.

  5. Love this. We’ve been reading in Titus as a group, so this leadership subject and what it looks like in His Body has come up a lot. God has been good to send us examples in a sermon and now this. Gonna read it aloud in our next gathering.

    • Mary, thanks for the encouragement and confirmation. The Spirit wants to actively teach and lead us into all truth along the way everyday.

  6. "BK" permalink

    Excellent post, Christopher. A year or so ago I was SO frustrated with someone who was just MISSING GOD (in my opinion 🙂 ). I told the Lord, “Auuugghhhh! It was so much easier when I was a PASTOR. I just TOLD people what Your will was and they DID it!” (laughing now). He responded, “Would you reeeeeally want to go back to that?” NO! NO! NO! It is only by the way of life through the Spirit where lasting change occurs and people actually GROW to know God for themselves. You said it well here. Love, “BK”

  7. Karen King permalink

    Thank you. It’s encouraging to hear others think like this. I don’t attend public church. I have a collective group of other believers with whom I regularly talk and trade encouragements and gain insight and much love. It is a fellowship nothing like the traditional American religious systems. I am so often astounded at how, when I reach out to some of those believers who are physically distant, Holy Spirit is helping and teaching and reminding us about the same things. The encouragement and joy is so multiplied! One human in charge couldn’t even begin to imitate or duplicate this.

    • Thanks for sharing Karen, simple fellowship goes way deeper than anything organized by “men”. In the Spirit we can relate to people thousands of miles away from us for The Spirit knows no physical boundaries.

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