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Monday, August 26, 1996

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2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12
Psalm 96
Matthew 23:13-22

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follow the leader

"Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds! You shut the doors of the kingdom of God in men's faces, neither entering yourselves nor admitting those who are trying to enter." —Matthew 23:13

Jesus sharply criticized the religious leadership of His time. He called many of the leaders "hypocrites," who were foolish, and blind (Mt 23:16, 17). He accused some of them of making their followers into devils twice as wicked as themselves (Mt 23:15).

Jesus is so strict and harsh with leaders because their bad leadership is so destructive. Jesus loves us so much that He doesn't want us destroyed. Jesus protects His people by calling leaders to give an account of their leadership (Heb 13:17) — a stricter account (see Jas 3:1; Wis 6:5, 6, 8). Jesus protects and nourishes His people by raising up leaders after His own heart (Jer 3:15).

However, we mess up Jesus' loving protection and His attempts to nurture us by:

  1. not obeying or loving the leaders He has given us,
  2. choosing leaders different than those chosen by God,
  3. not forgiving bad leaders,
  4. not accepting God's call to leadership (Jgs 9:8), and
  5. not praying for leaders (see 1 Tm 2:1-2).

Every group will naturally have leaders, but those under Jesus' lordship will supernaturally have leaders. Those who follow Jesus as Leader will be and have good leaders.

Prayer:  Father, make us worthy of Your call and fulfill by Your power "every honest intention and work of faith" (2 Thes 1:11).

Promise:  "It is no more than right that we thank God unceasingly for you, brothers, because your faith grows apace and your mutual love increases." —2 Thes 1:3

Praise:  Ben, a teenager, prayed for the gift of leadership during a Life in the Spirit seminar. Three years later, he is a co-leader of his youth ministry.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, January 29, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 5, 1996