The call to leadership is a costly call. The Apostle Peter brings revelation to the call of leadership, being a leader at both the apostolic (trans-local) and pastoral (local) level; the revelation of personal cost to lead. In 1 Pet. 5 he encourages local leaders of churches to willingly and eagerly take care of the people within their sphere of leadership. But he very pointedly encourages them to do so with the right motive of heart, i.e. for the cause, NOT for what they will gain from their positions of authority! Peter said we should lead “not for what you will get out of it” (1 Pet. 5:2 NLT). That same phrase in the King James Version is “not for filthy lucre”. In the New International Version it is “not for money”. Whichever translation you prefer, Peter is saying don’t take up the call of leadership for personal gain!
Leadership comes at the cost of flesh-based motives of personal benefits, personal prosperity, and personal glory. Those have got to go! Now you might say that this does not mesh with the world system or the church system, which typically pays greater amounts of money to those in leadership positions. People do receive larger paychecks for larger responsibility; however, what is the non-monetary cost of those larger paychecks?
Peter makes two key points. First, our motives to gain a leadership position are IMPORTANT. Are our motives for the money, the authority or the responsibility? You may say ‘all of the above’! Most of us want the authority and the money!!! But seldom do we really want the responsibility.
In my leadership experience over 30 years I have observed that each time I was given more money, responsibility and authority, I only had a preliminary hint of the real responsibility of that promotion. Very often financial compensation and authority are appealing, but seldom is responsibility appealing. In other words we like having authority to lead and govern and enjoy the money that comes with it, but we many not truly want the responsibility that accompanies it. However it is in our perspective of the responsibility of leadership that we discover the motives for our desire for authority.
Secondly there is a cost to entering into all leadership. In our desire for a better paycheck and/or more authority we often lose sight of what we must give up in gaining it. Note 1 Pet. 5:3 says leaders should ‘lead by your good example’. That is a huge cost of leadership! The Apostle Paul said three times that people should imitate his life. Paul said the apostles were ‘on display’. A leader’s life, especially in the church, is very public!! To be an example means we give up the right to ‘do whatever we want,’ and take on the responsibility of doing what is right. We give up the right to quit just because we have a bad day. We give up the right to be ruled by emotion. We give up the right to go places and do things that would cast a shadow over our organization, family, or church. We give up the right to be entangled in unhealthy relationships. This is a cost of leadership. The cost is paid in the family, business, workplace, and church. We are on display as examples to people and to God. We are accountable to the organization and its mission of which we are leaders.
Are you willing to pay the price of leadership; the price of right motives and being an example for all to see? Check your heart, check in with the Holy Spirit and discover your motives and your willingness to truly lead as God intended. Here is the good news when you walk in leadership with the right motives and pay the price. 1 Pet. 5:4 says as we walk in Godly leadership there is an eternal gain…..the crown of glory!!! Praise His Name!
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