It’s great to be “pouring into” people. That’s a popular phrase in today’s leadership environment. I’ve used it because I like the word picture of it. Whatever I may have learned about life and leadership, I’m supposd to be passing along to others. But what does the phrase really mean? What, exactly, are we to pour into the people we lead?
My favorite quote is from Shelton Smith, Editor of The Sword of the Lord, who said,
The difference between mediocrity and excellence is midnight oil, elbow grease, and the power of God.
Men! In western society today, we’ve typecast men as unable to be responsible, intelligent, or relationally healthy. Boys will be boys. Men just can’t control themselves. Girls rule. Boys drool. We aren’t doing our boys any favors by hold up this particular caricature. Equally dangerous is the other extreme, embraced in various generations of history in which men are domineering overlords of the weaker sex. Between and beyond these two models is the model of a godly man.
What is success? Most people define it in one of three ways:
- How many possessions do you own?
- How much power do you wield over others?
- How much prestige do you have among peers?
American Christians tend to blend right in. We even apply these standards to churches and church leaders. Which church has the biggest budget, the nicest building, or the largest weekend attendance? There’s nothing wrong with any of those things – money is good, influence is invaluable, and popularity is something God can use in huge ways. And we certainly need churches to grow exponentially in a world as lost as ours. The problem is, none of those factor into God’s viewpoint on success.
Jesus’ followers are constantly being tested – not in the sense that He’s trying to make us fail, but in the sense that He’s preparing us to pass. He tests us through trials and troubles, just as a craftsman “tries” or purifies metals in intense and melting heat. But the toughest of tests isn’t loneliness or loss. It isn’t suffering. It’s praise.