Working through Philippians 2 this morning – I do not like this chapter much, I think I have said that before – it is too easy to understand – you know the whole put others above yourself stuff, I digress.
So we are to put other’s needs above ours, and do that without grumbling or complaining. And while we are at it do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit. Rather large order for some of us.
Then I begin to think through some of the other books Paul wrote. In Galatians 1, Paul skips all the incites and launches into rather harsh rebuke of their desertion of the gospel. In 2 Corinthians Paul is defending his ministry to a church to which he sustained significant ministry. In 1 Corinthians he catalogs and challenges multiple issues that are being handled improperly in the body. Do all of those mesh? Are they in conflict?
I do not think so. Consistently, Paul is engaging at the level and force of the need of the individuals. There is not a generic commitment to be a doormat in Paul, as I have seen some apply Philippians 2. Sometimes the need is for confrontation when we do not want to confront, when it would be easier to let things go. But in that case it is putting our desires to avoid conflict above the needs of the people whom we are called to serve.
This is not an easy assignment. Galatians 6:1 – 5 is an echo of Philippians 2 (Well I guess really Philippians 2 is an echo of Galatians 6:1 - 5 since Galatians was written first...) and gives some good advice. We need to walk closely with Christ, listen to what He wants us to do in each situation, and then do it.
That seems to be the essence of leadership.