Being in the public eye is not for sissies. Oh, it might look glamorous; it might seem appealing; but the reality is far different. It’s a tremendous responsibility. God calls all of us to represent Him to the world, to be His ambassadors, each within the sphere of our influence. But what if that influence extends beyond one’s own family or friends? What if it reaches to the community at large, to the church, or even to people you’ve never met?
These are questions I wrestle with in the quietness of my heart, when the world is shut away and it’s just Jesus and me. I can’t live my life to please others, for if I did that I would no longer please Him. Do I serve Jesus, or people? If I serve Jesus, that means a decision I make or something I say might be directly opposed to what someone else wants me to do. God, am I strong enough for that? What if I am strong enough, but the spirit with which I communicate is wrong?
For a leader—or for anyone really—God doesn’t look just at the action, He looks at the intent of the heart. Motive. Such a little word with so much impact. Why do I make decisions? How much of myself, of my own pride and stubbornness, is tied up in what I do? God, would You show me my heart?
From a human perspective it’s a whole lot easier to serve people. At least at first. Later on it becomes difficult, for no matter how much you give or do, it never seems to be enough. I should know. I’ve tried.
We’re not called to look at people; in fact, we’re never called to look at people. Only Jesus.
Recently Greg and I spent some time with friends by the ocean. I love to hear the surf pounding the shore, to see the blue expanse of nothingness, to feel the sand beneath my toes. A few yards from the shore stood a rock. As I watched, the waves constantly changed, but that rock never moved. No matter what came against it, no matter the fury of the water, it remained the same. Is that my answer? God-centeredness—both for the leader and the follower, for the watcher and the one being watched. As a leader God calls me to center myself in Him, so that nothing will move me from His purpose and plan. Not human applause, nor criticism, nor fury. Nothing can separate me from Him and from His purpose.
God-centeredness is also for those who follow. I’ve seen people’s lives destroyed, wrecked by gossip and criticism, by idolizing others to the exclusion of Jesus. We’re not called to look at people; in fact, we’re never called to look at people. Only Jesus. If we look to Jesus, the decisions others make won’t mislead us, and they won’t disappoint us. We’ll be centered in Him.
Are leaders human? Absolutely.
Are followers human? Of course.
Regardless of the call of God on our lives, let’s center our lives on Him, then represent Him to the world. For He is the only secure rock.
Jill Morikone is general manager for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.