Dr. Barrett Mosbacker, PublisherI suspect that as children all of us experienced the fear of thinking a monster was in our closet or under our beds. Even as adults, we can feel the rush of adrenaline or the hair on the back of our necks stand up when we hear things go bump in the night.
As teachers and administrators, we can still be paralyzed by fear from dangers—both imagined and real.
Despite my years of experience, I still feel my stomach tightened and stress increase when my administrative assistant tells me that “Mrs. or Mr. so and so wants to see you about a concern.” I really hate this when she tells me this on Friday afternoon and have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to meet with him or her. All kinds of unpleasant things run through my mind. I imagine all kinds of monsters are in my closet, soon to enter my office!
As we seek to fulfill our calling before the Lord, we can use the words from God to encourage ourselves with the promise and presence of God:
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel … 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous … Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Jos 1:1–9).
Frankly, Joshua and the people had legitimate reasons to fear; there were indeed monsters in the closet—in this case across the river.
· Joshua faced the prospect of following Moses—no small feat and I would think very intimidating.
· He faced the prospect of leading a very rebellious, complaining, and wishy-washy people.
· They all faced the very real dangers of warfare, injury, death, of conquering a new land in which many giants lived.
We face our own giants and fears:
· Our own inadequacies—real and imagined
· Perhaps enrollment or financial stresses at the school
· Economic distress
· The corruption of the world
· Family problems—especially when as leaders and teachers in Christian schools we are supposed to our families in order—we are not supposed to have prodigals!
· Political ideologies and parties on the left and the right
Positive Demeanor in Leadership
Notice the words of God to Joshua:
Be Strong: Able to withstand force, pressure, or wear, secure, stable, or firmly established.
Be Courageous: Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the ability to continue with the mission despite the fear; it is the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
Negative Demeanor in Leadership
Do not be frightened: Don’t be frightened off, driven away, driven off course, and hindered by fear. This does not mean that we don’t “feel the emotion of fear.” We do. It means that it does not control our decisions or our actions.
Do not be dismayed: Distress, shattered, filled with terror or fear.
The Basis of Our Strength and Courage in the Midst of Opposition or Difficult Circumstances
A. The LORD: Sovereign, Transcendent, All Knowing, All Wise, All Powerful
B. YOUR God: He is not a distance deity-he is our God—this is intimate, personal, and relational, implying a deep knowledge and love.
It is the difference between being an adult in relation to children to being the father of our children.
C. WITH you: In the same direction, using the services of (as we are instruments in his hand), in the trenches with you, in the foxhole, in the battle, in the meeting, etc. We are not alone to fend for ourselves.
WHEREEVER: in good times, bad times, when praised, when attacked, in times of plenty, in times of scarcity.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35-39, ESV)
Appropriating God’s Promises
A. It is God who blesses the “Work of our Hands.”
We must relax; it is the Lord who will bless the work of our hands!
Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (Job 1:9, ESV)
B. Trust Our God
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Pr 3:5–6, ESV).
C. Abide in Christ
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:5-11)
D. Only By Prayer and Fasting
Everything thing we face and every decision requires that we go to the Lord in prayer. There are some issues, however, that require more intense spiritual focus—prayer AND fasting.
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mk 9:26–29, ESV)
If you are facing what seems like an insurmountable or intractable problem, it may require a sustained season of focused, intense prayer and fasting. It may also require constant impromptu short prayers to the Father whenever the issue comes to mind.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9, ESV).
F. Suffer Hardship--God’s presence and blessing does not mean it will be easy
The school business is a hard, difficult, and sometimes discouraging one. I often joke with people that running a school is easy, we only deal with people’s children, money, and religion! Adding to the stress are the current economic situation and the general downward spiral of our culture. Other than that it easy!
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (2 Ti 2:3–10, ESV)
A. Adjusting our Glasses
As Christians and school leaders we are not playing defense, circling the wagons, jumping into the fox hole. We are to be an army on the move, conquering just as Joshua was to lead the people across the river to take the land.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19)
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)
B. Jesus Has Overcome the World
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (John 16:33-17:2)
C. The Reward
21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Mt 25:21, ESV)
D. Right Now Counts Forever
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away …. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.” (Rev 21:1-7; 22-25)
Are there monsters in your closet? In your office? In the boardroom? In your classroom? In your inbox? At home?
Relax, Jesus has overcome the world!
We don’t have to fear our monsters, they should never paralyze us. No fear of being world-class, no fear of technology, no fear of the media, no fear of those who oppose us, no fear of the economy. No fear of the future.
Let’s march forward without fear and in God’s strength. Let’s do something great for the Lord! Let’s become world-class in our classrooms, in our offices, in the boardroom, in our schools—for his glory!