Monday, December 08, 2008


Which of these precious darlings do you think might have led their father to such drastic discipline...

Parenting ain’t for wimps, and my husband is one of the toughest dads I’ve ever met. Not because he’s terribly mean or strict, but because of his creativity in discipline. One of our daughters was a teenager, and she had crossed the line – more than once. It was the third time she’d come in past curfew, and we were out of ideas on discipline. Well, I was out of ideas. Roy was just getting started. He called the wayward offspring into the living room and seated her on the couch. “I’m going to punish you,” he explained, “by taking your punishment on myself.” I gawked at him, as did our daughter. He continued to explain, undaunted by our furrowed brows. “I’m going to deny myself something I value very highly, something I’ll miss dearly. Each time you see my sacrifice, you’ll be reminded to honor your curfew next time.” Our daughter’s face brightened, thinking she’d completely wriggled off the hook. Dinner came, and when it came time to pour the drinks, Roy refused the Pepsi we usually poured for him. “No thank you,” he said. “I won’t be having any Pepsi for a month.” That’s how long the grounding would have been for our daughter if we’d have implemented the rules of the house. She looked at her dad with daggers in her eyes, and poured his glass of water. After a week of pouring dad’s water at dinner and enduring his loving, sacrificial spirit, the grounding looked more and more appealing. Sometimes as a leader, we must suffer with those we lead. Sometimes they must come to their own conclusions. Sometimes they must ask for their own discipline…

Ezra 10:1-4 – “While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites--men, women and children--gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, ‘We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.’”
  • What a beautiful picture of leadership at its best. The shepherd burdened by the Lord, and the people receiving the same burden in prayer. The body coming to a consensus and then committing to act in support of the shepherd as he leads in that decision. Notice that the body encourages the leader when he despairs, and the leader trusts the direction of the people committed to God’s Word. Also take note that the people place ultimate authority back into the leader’s hands, offering their support and continued encouragement.

Ezra 10:5-6 – “So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath. Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.”

  • As the leader, Ezra secured the plans for action…and then he took his fingers out of the pot and empowered others to do the work. His job was to fast, pray, and maintain the fervency of the calling – even when he wasn’t involved in every step of the process. But don’t you imagine those doing the work noticed Ezra’s continued burden? Don’t you imagine they were inspired by his continued faithfulness in prayer?

Lord, it’s hard to allow others to do the work I feel so passionately about. Help me to be faithful in prayer and allow You to work in others’ hearts according to Your will and Your Word. Show me that putting my trust in You is sometimes lived out by trusting Your work through others.

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