October 9, 2019

Leadership Is Not a Title!

Matthew 3

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John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”1 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
  ‘Prepare2 the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,3 and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,4 with whom I am well pleased.”

Footnotes

[1] 3:2 Or the kingdom of heaven has come near
[2] 3:3 Or crying: Prepare in the wilderness
[3] 3:16 Some manuscripts omit to him
[4] 3:17 Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved

Leadership Is Not a Title!



Key Verse | Matthew 3:8-9

"Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham."

Bio | Kayla Poole

Hey, friends!

It's time for pumpkin spice, boots, and everything nice . . . and band. Being a band director, October is a crazy month, but I could not be more excited to meet you here this morning! 

In addition to my love for teaching middle school kids the truths of God through band, I also get to serve in On Your Mark (Watermark's kids ministry) and am a member over at our Fort Worth campus, where I landed in the summer of 2015. God has used the church body there and my community group to continually grow my affections for Him.

Cowtown shout-out!

Central Truth

God, as the King of the universe, delegates leadership to mankind. As believers, we see faithful leadership modeled by John the Baptist and, ultimately, Jesus Himself. Leadership is not found in a title, but is instead demonstrated by the faithfulness of those who serve others and whose hearts follow God obediently.

Devotional | Matthew 3

Note about me: I love band! I grew up playing the flute and even made band my career! 

However, I often longed to climb the ladder of leadership within the band world. My desire was always to have...

Note about me: I love band! I grew up playing the flute and even made band my career! 

However, I often longed to climb the ladder of leadership within the band world. My desire was always to have the leadership title of whomever was above me, whether it was student leaders, teachers, or coworkers. Ultimately being a "Head Band Director" would give me all the control and praise, and that was my goal!

What I didn't know then, which God has graciously shown me over the past three years of being a Head Director, is that leadership is not a title. We see this clearly called out by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:8-9 when he tells the religious "leaders" that they were not necessarily leading just because they relied on their positional status in the Jewish community. They needed to be real leaders who bore fruit from their efforts to love others and who cared less about their status.

So if leadership is not the title of "Head Band Director" or "High Priest," what is it? In our passage today, we see John model leadership well. John was faithful to speak truth to others and was obedient to do what God asked him. God was able to use John because he was faithful to do what his leader, the King of the world, asked him to do, which was declaring truth, loving, and serving others. God gave John a special title in history as the forerunner of Christ, but that was not why John was a leader. It was his faithfulness to bear fruit, not a label. We see true leadership ultimately modeled in Jesus, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Philippians 2:6). Jesus, who is publicly recognized by God as "God" through His baptism, did not regard His title as ultimate. Instead, Philippians 2:7 tells us that He "emptied himself" and became a "servant." As believers, we're all given that same objective to be faithful to love and serve those around us.

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Discussion Questions

1. What opportunities to lead others has God presented to you? Think about the relationships that you have with others in your daily life.

2. For those who have put their faith in Christ, we are all delegated leadership responsibilities by God as a "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9a). No matter where you are in the "ranks of leadership" or where God has placed you, what would being a faithful priest look like with those whom God has put in your sphere of influence today? How could you "proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9b) to those whom God has given you to shepherd?

9 Comments available

Jay Caruso about 1 month ago

Thank you Kayla I love reading these devotions Leadership is not found in a title, but is instead demonstrated by the faithfulness of those who serve others and whose hearts follow God obediently. Being a leader in my professional career these words are so true and need to be lived out by all

Michael Scaman about 1 month ago

As far as roles, John the Baptist as a prophet was a sign. He may not have done any miracles but as a sign he pointed with more clarity than any other up till his day to point to ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’.

As far as roles, Jesus here is a winnower blowing away the unreal and keeping/protecting what he made real.

As far as roles, the Father speaks audibly 3 times in the gospels and each time is bringing glory to the Son.

Michael Scaman about 1 month ago

"Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. "

That is also in Malachi, where Malachi means ‘my messenger’. In that verse it points to my messenger being John the Baptist pointing to the Messiah, Jesus.

(And all in the closing pages of the Old testament.)

christopher varner about 1 month ago

When Jesus came, he had all authority, and every right to lead from the front. However, he chose to lead as his father led him. He allowed himself to be baptized first. This was his fathers plan for him in the beginning. He allowed himself to decrease in the position of a servant. For him to serve us. We, as Christians are to do the same. We are to serve others as Christ served us first. As Christ followers, we are to teach, lead and instruct. No one, in God’s kingdom, is over anyone. We are one in the same. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. God is our father.

greg jones about 1 month ago

“leadership is not a title.”

“We see this clearly called out by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:8-9 when he tells the religious “leaders” that they were not necessarily leading just because they relied on their positional status in the Jewish community.”

Kayla you’re so kind.

I hear John telling them he’s seen their mothers playing handball against a curb.

I think we both hear John calling out individuals, challenging the ideas of what it means to be Jewish in Judea in the first century.

Great devotional, spot on leadership insights.

Sue Bohlin about 1 month ago

(1/2) Bless you, Kayla! Especially for your calling to work with “electric chihuahuas” (middle schoolers).

We meet John the Baptist today, and he already knows his cousin Jesus is the Messiah. It makes me wonder about the boys’ growing-up years, what John’s faithful mother Elizabeth taught him about his cousin. When they would get together and play, as cousins do, what was that like? Jesus would never cheat or be mean or play power games with the other kids. And even though John was a few months older than Jesus (which matters greatly when you’re a kid looking for any reason to feel superior to others), he showed profound humility concerning the Messiah. And Jesus, being profoundly humble (Philippians 2), would never have played the King card, much less the Messiah card!

Sue Bohlin about 1 month ago

(2/2) For years I have thought about sitting down with Mary over a cup of coffee in heaven, asking her about raising a perfect Child and the family dynamics she dealt with. And also what she told Jesus about Himself! Did she–and Joseph–recite passages from the scrolls (which they surely did not own personally), and say, “That’s talking about YOU, Son”?!

. . .Now I want to pull Elizabeth into that conversation!

Lindsey Driscoll about 1 month ago

Kayla, I love the way you discussed leadership modeled by Jesus and John the Baptist! We see the humility of Jesus in being baptized by John (3:13-17), he like man, came to be baptized showing his example of humility and identifying with sin. Yet, he was perfect and had no sin in him. This is our example of confession and repentance, being washed and made clean. Thankfully we are washed by Christ’s blood once and for all sin ( 1 John 2:2).

Hugh Stephenson about 1 month ago

GM Kayla. Great devo on leadership.

Today my heart went right to verse 8 -

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”

I am taught in re:gen, messages and by mentors that confession without repentance is incomplete. At best. I used to try and just say, “I’m sorry” and be done with it. Somehow, I knew that was bogus.

A huge life pivot come for me in step 6 in re:gen (in 2014). Step 6 is when we make very detailed plans for repentance.

What I saw in those plans was how far off the mark I was. The orientation of my heart was way, way off. No wonder I bore no fruit, (Galatians 5:22-23). No wonder I had no peace, no hope and my relationships were in tatters.

Those plans showed me the way back to Him, (Psalm 119:105). For the first time, Luke 15:21 became real to me.

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