Summary: The message heeds the warning from Jesus concerning false prophets and outlines the qualities of a genuine leader/pastor/overseer.
What Does a Leader Look Like?
Each Friday night after work, Bubba would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a venison steak. But, all of Bubba’s neighbors were Catholic....And since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday. The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest.
The Priest came to visit Bubba, and suggested that he become a Catholic. After several classes and much study, Bubba attended Mass, and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he said, "You were born a Baptist, and raised a Baptist, but now you are a Catholic." Bubba’s neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the wonderful aroma of grilled venison filled the neighborhood.
The Priest was called immediately by the neighbors, and, as he rushed into Bubba’s yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped and watched in amazement. There stood Bubba, clutching a small bottle of holy water which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat and chanted: You wuz born a deer, you wuz raised a deer, but now you is a catfish.
You can claim to be a leader, or you may be called a leader by some, but that doesn’t make you a leader. Jesus gave us clear warning in Matthew 24 that false prophets and leaders would be coming in the last days.
Matt. 24:4-5 “Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ’I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”
Matt. 24:11 “And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”
What is alarming to me is not that he said false prophets and anti-christs would be coming, but he said many would be coming for the sole purpose of leading you and me away from Jesus. He also said this in the last few days of His life on earth making them in my mind of even greater importance and urgency so that we might be prepared.
We have seen and heard of a good number of these false prophets in the last few years. I am sure there are many more but I list a few of the better know anti-christs of our time.
Jim Jones (no relation) was responsible for the Guyana tragedy. On November 18, 1978 he commanded his followers to drink Kool-aid laced with cyanide. Many drank at gun point after some had refused only to be shot down by "devoted" followers of Jones. Jones thought he was the return of Christ and 913 followers were found dead. Jones began in San Francisco preaching redemption through Christ.
David Koresh was another one claiming to be the leader and Christ over the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX. We all watched and waited for the outcome of a siege on the "compound" in Waco only to be horrified that these people would follow this man to a fiery death. When David Koresh was 19 years old he became a born-again believer in a Southern Baptist church. It is obvious he was not in touch with Christ but claimed to be Christ.
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda of Puerto Rico is the second coming of Christ according to him and his followers. He claims to have 100,000 followers with more being recruited through mass media and personal "evangelism". Congregations are cropping up everywhere under the Growing in Grace Organization. Two years ago he claimed to be Christ now just a few weeks ago he was on the news claiming to be the anti-christ. His followers were sporting their new 666 tattoos similar to the one on De Jesus’ forearm.
Jesus warns us that there will be false prophets and false teachers. We know false teachers infected the New Testament church from Gnosticism, mysticism, to Judaism. Based on the last few years, much less decades, it seems that part of the prophecy continues to be true.
How do we tell if someone is the genuine article? Scripture give us a clear picture of what a leader will look like. Not everyone will look the same physically, or even the same strengths, but I do think we have a clear understanding of the general characteristics of effective, God fearing, Christ like leadership in the New Testament.
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.
"If someone sets his heart" is what Paul says. The phrase literally means "to reach or stretch out as if to attain something". It implies a desire so strong that satisfaction and purpose in life can be attained through no other means than reaching the goal. The spiritual gift of pastor, elder, bishop, minister is so consuming, the person has no choice but to pastor or suffer an unfulfilled longing.