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(Part 14)


November 11, 2009

Today’s reading from the book of Wisdom (6:2-11) has important instruction for servant leaders.

Servant leaders stand in God’s place, doing His work and caring for His people. Now that is an awesome privilege and responsibility. God entrusts His plan for the life of the world to His people, especially His servant leaders. God gives them His anointing, and they do their work under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. As such, “for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends” (v.8).

God holds us accountable! God will probe our works. God will test the quality of our service. “Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude and lord it over throngs of peoples! Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels!” (v.2-3).

What will be the standard of God’s judgment?

The standard is God Himself. Servant leaders must judge “rightly, and .... keep the law, (and) walk according to the will of God” (v.4). We are to live righteous lives, avoid sin and wrongdoing, and make decisions according to His ways. This is because we represent God, and we are tasked to care for His people. Thus we reflect the image of God. Thus we obey God’s commands and do things His way, not our way.

If not, our punishment will be severe. “Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you” (v.5a). But why? We are just trying to serve Him. It is voluntary and we may not be getting paid for it. Punishment will be severe “because judgment is stern for the exalted” (v.5b), and “the mighty shall be mightily put to the test” (v.6b). God gives us power and authority, entrusting His people to us, and we must care for them the way God wants us to.

It seems such a heavy burden. Why even take the chance of being punished by God by becoming a servant leader? Well, it is a great privilege. And if we truly love God, and if we know that He acts through leaders that He chooses, then we must respond if called.

For those called, God provides the grace to be able to serve well. First, God gives us His commands, which lead us to righteousness and holiness, which in turn transform us into the image and likeness of God. God assures us that “those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy” (v.10a). God desires that we be holy as He is holy. If we desire this as well, and strive to live according to His ways, then we will be holy. “To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.” (v.9).

Second, as we strive to obey God’s laws, and thus grow in godly wisdom, then we will know how to respond to God’s call, and act according to His will in caring for His people. God again assures us: “those learned in them will have ready a response” (v.10b). God will not withhold His wisdom, grace and anointing. He just wants to have obedient leaders, whom He is committed to form and transform.

To be a servant leader is a great and wonderful calling. It is both a great privilege and responsibility. Being tasked to do the very work of God, we will be held accountable. In this we must not be afraid, but trust in the God who calls us.

God provides for all we need in order to do His work and be effective servant leaders. God guides us and instructs us, and God does want us to succeed. He has given us His guide book, the Bible. He has given us the Church and her magisterium. He has given us our community, with elders and brethren.

Now it is up to us. “Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed.” (v.11).

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