Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Stench of Leadership

This past Saturday I was listening to a podcast by Matt Moore at Cornerstone Simi Valley. He was talking about the role of elders in the church. As he was beginning his message he said something that struck me as very profound.  As he was beginning to talk about elders he was talking about some of the characteristics of an elder. He said that elders were shepherd/teachers or pastor/teachers he said they live with the sheep and they smell like the sheep. What a profound statement! The elders of the church need to smell like the sheep! I was so intrigued with this statement that I e-mailed him and told him how challenged I was by his statement and his message. He e-mailed me back and said the thought came from a book called They Smell Like Sheep by Lynn Anderson.

This got me thinking, as good messages usually do...Sometimes after I finish my yard work I will walk in the house and my kids will tell me I stink, what they are saying is that I smell like grass and dirt or I smell like the gas and oil mixture in my weed eater. My wife used to work as a waitress when we were first married. Every night she would come home smelling like the restaurant - food, smoke, grease, etc. Even after she would wash her clothes you could still get a faint smell of the restaurant. Why is that? It is because we spent time in our environments, me in the yard and she in the restaurant. I took a hands on approach with my lawn. I cut the grass, I edged the driveway, I pulled weeds, I gassed up my machines. I was very involved in the process of getting my yard looking nice. My wife took orders, served the food, fixed the drinks and even helped prep the food in the kitchen. She was very involved in the process of serving the customers.

As I continued listening to Matt's message I found myself thinking about the elders smelling like the sheep. I thought that this is not just something the elders need to do but any of us who claim to be followers of Christ. We all need to smell like the sheep. Christ gave us marching orders before he left and went back to heaven:

Matthew 28: 18 - 20 - 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

In other words, go gather the lost sheep and bring them into the fold. Go spend time with the sheep. Come back smelling like the sheep. Spend time investing in the lives of those around you. Pour yourself into others just like Christ poured himself into his disciples. I think we have all been tainted in our thinking of what Christ looked like. We see artist's paintings of this long haired, clean, white guy who wore a clean white robe and nice new sandals. As I read scripture my view of how Christ looked has changed. He spent a lot of time around the Sea of Galilee with fishermen. I recently got back from vacation at the beach. One night we went to a restaurant right on the docks where the fishing boats pull in after a full day of fishing. I can assure you it is not a "fresh as a daisy" scent that wafts from the boats! The smell of dead fish, bait and sweaty fishermen is a bit disturbing. Yet this is the kind of place Jesus spent time. Not only did he smell like sweat and fish but mix that with the smell of perfume:

Matthew 26: 6, 7 - 6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

Also add to that the smell of death:

John 11: 38, 39 - 38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39"Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."

Christ spent time with the sheep, he lived with the sheep, he invested him time and his love in the sheep and as a result of that he ended up smelling like the sheep.

Paul uses the analogy of smell also as he is talking about his preaching of the Gospel and how we are to do the same:

II Corinthians 2: 14-16 - 14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?

Let me encourage you to get involved with the sheep as Matt did. You never know, one day when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ he may tell us we smell just like his sheep and what an incredible complement that would be!

No comments:

Post a Comment