catalyst |ˈkatl-ist| noun
1. a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
2. a person or thing that precipitates an event: the governor’s speech acted as a catalyst for debate.
Everyone has a position of leadership and influence. Some influence a few lives, maybe from the home, and some influence the masses from whatever God-given role in which they have been placed. But, one thing is for sure… everyone leads someone.
For the Christian leader, that is not enough. To lead, even with character and integrity, falls short of the standard and potential that God asks of everyone who leads in His name.
I have heard a multiplicity of times over the years that God doesn’t care about results, just faithfulness.
That’s never settled quite right with me.
Faithfulness, for sure, is a part of the Christian leaders expectation, in fact, it is the foundation from which all other parts of leadership flow.
But too often I think we use faithfulness in lieu of effectiveness as an excuse. True, there have been some who are called to ineffective faithfulness, called to futile acts of service. For example, the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah’s Commission from the Lord
6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty miserable calling to me. It must’ve sounded miserable to that prophet as well, since even though he was in the of visually impressive presence of God Himself, with angels roaring overhead, and the sound of worship so loud it shook the building, that his first response to this calling was, “ How long, O Lord?”
I have to think that an Isaiah calling is the exception to the rule. Not just because that seems like a gruesome way to live, but because Jesus seemed to set up another normative standard:
Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.
It appears that the standard for believers, leaders and anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ is to bear fruit.
This is all background to let you know my personal philosophy which I carried with me into the reading of Joshua chapter 1. Many of you will remember this chapter as the “Be strong and courageous” passage.
I love the threefold call on Joshua, formerly second-in-command, to be strong and courageous and lead God’s people after their earthly leader Moses had passed away. Three times he is told to be strong and courageous, is reminded that God would be with him as he was with Moses, and is promised that God will never leave nor forsake him.
In essence, this is the promise for all believers. If we are really “followers” of Jesus then it means he is going in front of us. He is the one pushing down the barricades, stepping into the shadows, doing the hard stuff… we are… following.
So, if He is doing all the heavy lifting up front, we should be strong and courageous bringing up the rear.
But, let’s get back to the issue of bearing fruit. One of these be strong statements is followed by an incredible phrase:
Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.
The above quotation is in the English Standard Version. I love it because it’s different than most translations which say Joshua will “lead this people” versus what it says in this version, that Joshua will “cause this people.”
A good biblical leader will cause his people:
- God is already doing something
- God has made promises He will keep
- God is leading, we are following
- God can use you as a cause agent, or catalyst to see His will done in this world and in many live
Whether you’re leading in your home, at work or school, in your community, or church, the role of the Christian leader is to be a cause agent for what God has promised and is already doing.
Joshua was given the task of seeing God’s promises fulfilled in the lives of many, simply because HE would believe God.
He could lead those people because He was following God… even if they struggled.
What is the missing element in your home, your church, your anywhere? Why are good people wandering in the desert, instead of taking the promise land?
Maybe you are the X factor… God is looking for that catalyst, that cause agent that will start a chain reaction manifesting the promises of God to become reality in many lives because YOU believed.
Be strong. Be courageous. Follow Him.