Who is a Leader Worthy of Following?
The Author of Hebrews knows this reality, that we are followers. He knows that we are people who learn from others, particularly the leaders to whom we aspire to be like. And so Scripture, in God's wisdom, wholeheartedly affirms that we are to be a people who continue to learn in this manner, by imitating our leaders. Hebrews 13:7 charges the reader clearly to this manner of life: Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. We learn two things very quickly from this passage:
- A leader is a particular kind of person, someone who spoke the word of God to you. We are to remember those leaders who have led in such a way as to lead us to the truth of God in His Word. According to Scripture, a leader is one who leads others to God.
- A leader is someone that we are imitate. A leader who leads others to God will have a life that reflects this conviction. They will be people whom we should therefore imitate; they are leading by example of what it means to be a Christian. The shepherd image in the NT calls them to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3b); they are shepherd-leaders whom we are called to imitate.
The exhortation then is for us to imitate the lives of those whom have led their own in a manner that reflects the calling of the Gospel. We are not meant to follow the leaders that the world portrays as leadership material, for very few of them lead us to God. They instead lead to fame, fortune, success, and pleasure. God's leaders take our hand and show us how to live in humility, as a servant, in love, and in devotion to God. God's leaders are very different from the world's.
Remember Your Leaders
Therefore to obey this verse means that we to imitate the lives of those who lead us in Truth. But in order for us to do this we must begin with the first three words of the verse: Remember your leaders. We must remember those in our lives who have led in a Godly manner, those who are worthy of our imitation. It is the calling upon the Christian to remember those who led us, to remember those who taught us regarding God's grace in Jesus Christ, to remember those whom we have read whose wisdom has brought us thirsty for more of God. Therefore over the next few weeks we will looking at particular leaders of the Christian faith who are worthy of our imitation. They will be people whom we can learn from, whose lives have sounded forth a deep relationship with God. Our call is two fold: 1) to imitate Godly leaders, and 2) to first of all remember them. We cannot imitate if we don't know who it is we are called to imitate. There are people who have proved worthy to follow, people who have led many to Jesus. Our task in the coming weeks is to remember these leaders.
**Next Week: Remembering Your Leader Jesus