The act of surrendering what I want to God is very difficult. I know this is a universal issue and observe the act of surrender a problem in our church. I am reminded of this reality in 1st Samuel 8, when the Israelites asked for a king as their leader, not a theocracy. God told Samuel not to take it personally, it wasn’t Samuel who they were rejecting it was God. The Lord gave the Israelites what they wanted, a king, someone they wanted for security and hope.
Like today, we look for security in a leader (preacher), a hero of sorts, someone to put our hope to give us what we want. Some want a traditional guy and others want something trendy or different, but most of all we want someone who makes us feel comfortable. Those wanting something come often and every Sunday like Joe’s disappointment in café’s choice of coffee; John’s list of concerns to make the church a better place; or Jean’s making her own changes to the technical department to satisfy her own tastes. We want what we want, express it to the leader(s) and/or make changes in our area of ministry to conform to our own comfort level.
As caring leaders, they hear the wants, complaints and concerns of the church family want to help. Is it the role of the church leader to give the people what they want? Will the leader lose something if he/she doesn’t give it? How much time and effort be spent giving people what the want? Is this what we call servant leaders?
Why doesn’t God give us what we want when it comes to being the church? We pray for this or that, waiting on God then the church chooses something different than our prayers.
The act of surrendering what I want to God is a painful one. Waiting on God doesn’t provide the human satisfaction or security we often desire. In fact, it does the opposite, waiting and surrender drives up our anxiety of the unknown future, doesn’t quench the thirst for happiness or gluttonous satisfaction. The desire for control over our circumstances, desire to have bigger and better or experiencing the experience are all without value or meaning when we are expected to surrender.
The act of surrender, letting go of my desires and wishes is a humbling act. As a leader of my household, much like a leader of a church, facing problems and speaking the truth in love is an act of surrender. In fact, the word kindness means to be helpful, useful. I have to ask myself, when I want something that based upon my own wants, needs and tastes (comfort level), is that helpful to those around me? Do I surrender “the thing” to God to see what happens and seek wisdom from others about “the thing”? Same for my family, am I being helpful or hurtful to them if I give them what they want?
Church leaders of this day are consistently under pressure to give the church member, what is expected whether spoken or unspoken. Without surrender, the church member becomes the customer and the church leader becomes the marketer. Without kindness (the display of useful acts in love), the leader gives the church either his/her own desires or want the member wants. Sometimes what is given is just the mere impression the member is getting what they want from the leader and the applause of the member(s) tells the leader they are doing the right thing (not).