It’s an honor to be a leader of God’s people, but with that honor comes great responsibility. James 3:1 reminds us, my brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. God will hold each leader responsible for what we teach by precept and example. But thank God, His anointing empowers us to serve Him and His church well. Still, we must always be mindful of what God expects of us as leaders.
An Example in the Wilderness
In the 13th chapter of Numbers, Moses chose one leader from each of the twelve tribes to spy out the Promised Land, and only two, Joshua and Caleb returned with a faith-filled report. The other ten came back with what the Bible calls an evil report. Although they saw the fruit of the land, their fear of the men of the land overtook them. The ten said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. (Numbers 13:27-29) But Joshua and Caleb said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30)
The Majority is Often Wrong
Modern people like to think going with the majority opinion is a safe and wise way to direct an organization, business, or church, but if the majority opinion is against God’s Word, it’s always wrong. In Numbers 14, we read everyone except Joshua, Caleb, and Moses agreed with one another! The solid majority joined themselves to the fear-filled report of ten men, which led the entire nation to completely rebel against God. They said, let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. (Numbers 14:4)
The evil report, offered by ten of the tribes’ leaders, and received by the rest of the community, brought dire consequences to them all. God didn’t spare the congregation or the leaders. They all suffered because they chose fear over faith. Numbers 14:32-37 says, but as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord.
People Will Follow You
People will follow you in much the same way the Israelites followed the ten spies. When you stand behind a pulpit or lead a meeting, someone will believe everything you say. If you speak fear, they will be afraid. If you speak faith, they will believe God’s promises.
I’ve been in the ministry almost 50 years and I can’t tell you how many people have told me they are alive because of what I’ve said. Others have received what I’ve said about finances and their money situation improved tremendously. I have drawers and drawers of testimonies from people whose lives were affected by what I said. To God be the glory! But what if I had taught falsehoods and fear? What if I told them, “Well, you never know what God may do.” What if I promoted the latest fear over God’s eternal Word? They wouldn’t have the blessing of God on their lives, and God would hold me accountable. It is a serious thing to lead God’s people.
You’ve got a great responsibility, Faith Leader. I strongly urge you to guard your heart and your mouth, so your Words agree with God’s, speaking faith, not fear.