Leader's are examples and that is why I love this next passage of Paul's letter to Timothy. He basically says "Look at me Timothy. I'm not the super apostle those in the future think I am." He's still pretty super to me.
Paul writes in 2:12 "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service." Paul, why wouldn't he appoint you to his service? I mean come on, isn't this a no brainer!?
2:13 "Even though I was once a blasphemer and persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance (teaching? 2 Timothy 3:16) and unbelief." Those are pretty big fightin' words your using Paul...wait! You're not talking about me? Your talking about yourself!
2:14-16 "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the wrost of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."
Wow!!! Can I say that again? WOW!!!!
What am I wowing about? Paul's example of God's grace, mercy and love. I think there are three things Christian leaders can learn from this passage.
1. Leaders need to see themselves as a product of God's grace and mercy!
2. Leaders need to be real and honest about themselves!
3. Leaders need to be seen as a work in progress!
As a leader it is important to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect person (except Christ). We are not perfect people. Let's not fool ourselves. People want and need to follow those who are a work in progress. What I mean by this is that people want to see God's amazing work being done in the lives of those they are following. When people see leaders similar to themselves and they see the changes taking place as a result of God's grace they will be more apt to follow.
Paul was so honest with Timothy, yet he wasn't flaunting the fact that he sinned. He was demonstrating the love of God in his life. Christian leaders need to demonstrate the love of God in their lives. Part of this demonstration is a leader showing the same grace, mercy and love to those who follow him. Why? Because our job is to help other become more like Christ.
Why is Paul such a "super apostle?" Because he was brutally honest about himself. He took every opportunity afforded to him to share the grace, mercy, love and truth about Christ. A great Christian leader will do the same.
God uses those who turn their weaknesses over to Him. Our weaknesses become His strength. The mark of a great leader is one who is able to give God his weakness and not be afraid to admit it. "For that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."