Start With The Cross And End With A Crown

Thank God for leaders who are a lot further along in the race than we are!  As we run our race, their footprints in the sand inspire us to keep on going no matter what.  Not only do they inspire us, they set the pace.  Sometimes, by God’s grace, we achieve a measure of their success.  Shifting gears for a minute, who is following in your footsteps?


Here are four key thoughts I’ve captured after hearing one of my mentors preach today.  I hope they’ll be an encouragement as you set the pace for others behind you.  All four are found in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.  

1 Corinthians 1  And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

  1. Paul kept his message pointed and simple In 2 Corinthians 2:2, the apostle Paul wrote of not speaking of anything but Christ crucified among those he was trying to reach.  That was the heart of his message in a nutshell.  It’s good news!  Jesus Christ died for our sins and we can repent and be forgiven.  That may not sound very fancy to you, but it’s a very powerful truth.
  2. You can be weak and fearful and still win your race!  When we think of Paul, we think of someone who was bold and courageous.  And he was! But here he openly admits he was weak and fearful most of the time.  Huh?  You see, courage is not the absence of fear; courage is saddling up despite your worse fears.  If you’re going to set the pace for those behind you, you’ll never eliminate feelings of fear and weakness.  They’re par for the course.  Yes, there’ll be seasons when you are light in spirit and bouyant, but most of the time you’ll just have to show up and rise up.
  3. You don’t need a fancy vocabulary or eloquence to make a difference in people’s lives.  School is not a bad thing, neither are books or advanced degrees.  These are all good things and in most cases, needful.  It’s also o.k to be a good speaker.  But what about the rest of us?  For instance, what does it look like to live a life where there is a demonstration of the Spirit and power?  It’s not a very difficult question.  It just means you live a life filled with love and compassion.  If you’re filled with the love of God, it’s going to leak!  Not just toward those worthy of your love, but all men, women and children.  You see, when you’re gone, people will mostly remember you for your large, loving heart, not the grey matter between your ears.  They may not remember one sentence you said, but they will remember how you comforted and consoled them.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use words.  It just means your words and actions should be filled with love.
  4. A faith that stands in the power of God, not the wisdom of men– As a leader, you want your people to trust you but most importantly a large living faith is one that encourages others to put their faith in God.  As you run your race, you want to make sure credit is given where credit is due.  Your job is not to put the spotlight on yourself or your own power, but on God and his power!

To recap, in sharing your story, keep it simple.  While you’re at it, you can’t avoid fear and trembling, but you can face it and be successful.  As your success grows, people are more likely to remember how you made them feel than what you said or did.  Finally, as you live out your life in love, others will be drawn to the source of your power.  At that point, be sure you point them to Christ and be sure he gets the credit.  Be like Paul….start with the cross and end with a crown!


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