They Loved the Praise of Men More than God

John 12:43 "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.".

Getting one's priorities wrong can be a problem for anyone at any time. But the problem of trying to be everything to everybody seems more like a problem that is "down the road" from being ordained as an elder than some of those discussed early in The Killing Fields series, which threaten to keep a person from ever becoming a ministry leader, deacon, or elder.

Doesn't everybody want to be liked? We like for people to agree with us, validate our ideas, praise our good efforts. Those tendencies do not go away when we become elders. And some of that that is good. We are told to tend (or feed) the flock that is among us, not a flock that is way behind us (the scout is a different personality than the wagon-master), so we try not to get too far ahead of them. Nor can we get behind the flock and drive them. You can drive cattle but you can't drive sheep. One pictures a shepherd at the head of, but not outside of, a flock of sheep as they go to graze.

As many a shepherd in the Lord's kingdom has discovered, there come times when most of the flock just doesn't "get it" about some particular thing. Maybe it's instrumental music in worship. Maybe it's praise teams. Maybe it's someone wanting to comingle church money with secular money to accomplish something that might be good, but for which the church will get no credit. What are you going to do?--"Go along in order to get along" or stand up for what your careful Bible study of 50 or more years plainly tells you is right?


Books that have been useful in preparing these lessons include:

Anderson, L. (1993). They smell like sheep. West Monroe, Louisiana: Howard Publishing.

Gangel, K. O. (1984). So you want to be a leader! Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications.

Grimsley, R. W. (1964). The Church and its elders. Abilene, Texas: Quality Printing Company.

Lewis, J. P. (1985). Leadership questions confronting the church. Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate.

Lewis, J. P. (2008). The question of instrumental music in worship. Searcy, AR: Truth for Today World Mission School.

Sanders, J. O. (1989). Spiritual leadership. Chicago, Ill: Moody Press.

Strauch, A. (1991). A study guide to biblical eldership: An urgent call to restore Biblical church leadership. Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers.

White, J., & Blue, K. (1985). Church discipline that heals: Putting costly love into action. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press.

Yeakley, F. R. jr. (1980). Church leadership and organization. Arvada, CO: Christian Communications.


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