Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32
How to lead through adversity requireslearning from two men named Nehemiahone from Scripture, the other from trackand field.
In the 1970’s, Rinaldo Nehemiah was a world-class sprinter from the UnitedStates. He won nearly every race he entered, taking home many medals. Like all sprinters, Rinaldo was very fast. Yet many athletes were faster. In a 100meter dash he would not win, and few would remember his name. But add ten meters and ten hurdles and Rinaldo achieved greatness. Rinaldo Nehemiah could anticipate, approach, and overcomehurdles better than any other man on earth. In other words, the obstacles made Nehemiah great.1
The river that runs through our small New Hampshire farm flows north smack into a rock ledge where it turns abruptly to the east. A sugar maple on our front lawn leans noticeably to the right. Of the five lambs we raised last year, the smallest was the leader.
Each of these illustrations reveal the same vital principle: change both creates and is formed by conflict.
Scripture speaks of the church as a living organism—the Body of Christ. We are commanded to grow and to be “transformed.” The church is alive—a spiritual, social reality that is dynamically interconnected and designed for change. As all living beings move through a cycle of birth, growth, decay, death, and rebirth so moves the church. Life insists upon change. It is the nature of God to form His Creation through cycles of change. It is the nature of people to resist change. This is why God made leaders.
“I want to personally thank you for the excellent job you and your team did this past weekend. Thanks for your even-handed approach, your spiritual sensitivity, your clarity, your willingness to confront, and your long, long hours.”