3 - Using authority wisely
I've been reflecting on this - very much along the lines of something I said on Sunday morning. Before I was called to any specific task (such as being a deacon / church secretary in a previous church, or being responsible for Sunday School in the one before that) I was called to be a follower of Jesus.
That means I need to spend time with him, to get to know him and what is important to him, to understand what he is about, to be in tune with what he is doing. And I also need to be seeking to live as he calls his followers to live in the Sermon on the Mount.
And it is only from that place that I have any chance of doing the things he is calling me to do and exercising the authority he has given me to do it such as preaching, seeking to care pastorally for people, seeking to share the good news of Jesus with others. And its becoming clearer and clearer to me that the better I am doing in "following" the better I can do at "serving in his authority"
How about in your situations and contexts?
I guess I feel have different levels of authority in different parts of my life. So at church, now as a deacon, I feel God has 'given me permission' to make decisions that affect the church as part of the diaconate. In my job I certainly feel called to teach- I couldn't imagine doing anything else- but I know I need to accept the help & guidance of God more readily in this part of my life. I feel the authority given to me at work is to show people how I live my life as a Christian- I find this is much easier now I work in a C of E school despite there not being a huge amount of practicing Christians on the staff. And as a wife and mum I feel God has given me the authority to raise and support my family in a way that teaches them about Jesus and encourages them in their own personal journey of faith.
I struggle with the authority bit a lot, mainly because of my own lack of self worth which is improving. I struggled when I was asked to lead Signs for worship because I didn't feel I could do it, I felt there were people far better equipped for the role. I ploughed myself into it and it was very rewarding and my relationship with God grew a lot.
I get the sense Paul might have said something similar:
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)