Does the Volume of the Voice Dictate Who We Should Follow?
There are many prominent voices in the body of Christ today. They are on radio and television. They write in magazines and e-zines and are well known as moderators of e-lists. And they are acclaimed as leaders in the body of Christ by virtue of their prominence.
It is easy and common to equate leadership with prominence. But the Lord does not do so. Prominence is not an evidence of true leadership. Nor does prominence and the followership thereof by multitudes oblige us to follow such.
It is not how loud or publicly recognized a voice is that proves whether we should follow it, but whether the voice sounds like the Shepherd. “My sheep hear My Voice.” Do the leaders we follow bear the Voice of the Shepherd?
A Contrast in Prominence and LeadershipDaniel speaks of a prominent horn. But speaking of the Lord we are to follow, Isaiah marks Him as one who does not lift up His Voice in the streets.
There are today many many ministers in prominence. Some of these are true leaders, bearing the Voice of the Shepherd to the body of Christ. Many more however, are not. They are simply prominent. They may even have an anointing and a calling to speak. But unless they bear the proven Voice of the Shepherd to us, they are not true leaders. They are not our leaders.
The Pharisees were men of prominence. They loved prominence. Did the Lord put them there? Did they have a calling, even an anointing perhaps? Yes.
“They sit in Moses’ seat.”
But that did not mean they were to be followed.
“Do as they say, but not as they do.”
Many in prominence are saying the right things. Their words are worthy of emulation. But they are not true to their own words, do not speak as the Shepherd speaks those words, and are not worthy to be followed.
Is the Voice That of “My” Shepherd?
In searching for the Voice of the Shepherd for determining the true leaders from and among the prominent, we are all brought to ask more specifically, Do they have the voice of “my” shepherd? Is this a man I should be following because he bears the voice of the Shepherd in this hour of my life? The Voice of the Shepherd to us often does not last through the ministry of a single man, but gravitates among various teachers as He instructs us in the fullness of His wisdom.
The Shepherd reserves the final right to order His body as He pleases. We are not beholden to follow any teacher indefinitely. Nor should we expect to be followed indefinitely by every man whom God gives us. We must all simply be faithful to the Shepherd in our speaking, and in our listening—and then let the Shepherd appoint us as sheep each to our proper place in its season.
But what about those who chafe under human discipline, who carry in their hearts the attitude,
“We will not have this man to rule over us!”?
Yes, woe to those of us who fail to listen to the true shepherds in our midst, given to us for our discipline and profit. The Lord too must sort this out. My heart sorrows when people walk away when I’m certain they have left my sphere of influence prematurely or for the wrong reasons. I hurt, not for my loss of followership, but for their own sake. I know what they could really become if they would just stay a little longer, hang in there wherever they get offended.
But still, they are the Lord’s. Not mine. Just as I am the Lord’s, and belong to no man.
In the end, my desire is not to have a prominent voice. Only to have an effective voice—effective in the lives of those whom the Shepherd has put in the sphere of my influence.
So let it be for every one of us. If we will keep to this motive, the Lord will quickly have the body He is after.
Riverside, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created October 17, 2016