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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Bruce

Shouldering Responsibility


Anyone else coming out of lockdown feeling weary, and maybe even unqualified to lead in these changing times?


We see you!


So we have written this five part blog to encourage you, as you lead. You can either read it all in one sitting or read a short section everyday.


You’re not doing this alone.


Rise was started for just such a time.



Part two: The weight of comparison

I wonder if you have ever - in a moment of vulnerability as a leader - compared the load you carry to that of others?


In these digital days it’s so easy to compare our behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.


Life is rarely, if ever, perfectly filtered or curated. Life in leadership, even more so.


Yet so many of us can equate ‘difficult’ with ‘we must be doing it wrong.’ Perhaps you’ve even questioned your ability and calling as a leader because the weight on your shoulders feels too much at times.


In Numbers 7:6-9 it says:


“So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, as their work required, and he gave four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, as their work required. They were all under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest.


“But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible.”


How would you feel in this situation?


Would we consider it a privilege to serve the Lord in this way?


Would comparing ourselves to the opportunities, methods and callings of others spur us on, or add even more weight to our shoulders? Before we go any further let’s take a second to thwart any sense of inferiority or inadequacy that could spill into our hearts.


Rise Women, declare these simple truths today:

  • I am made in His image - uniquely and divinely designed for His purposes. There is only one me, therefore, No one else is called to live my life and lead in my spheres but me.

  • I am called and equipped - through the Holy Spirit I find comfort, strength and dynamic power to minister to others, and to lead others likewise.

  • I am not alone -

  • He has gone before me: Deuteronomy 31:8

  • He is my rear guard; Isaiah 52:12

  • He upholds me; Psalm 145:15

  • And His hand is over me. Psalm 121:5


In other words, we are gripped by the hand of God!


Around you is a company of women who know what it’s like to lead, to carry the weight of responsibility, to press on and when to rest.


Hebrews 10:24-25 says: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


Part three: The weight of trust

Recently, since the inception of Rise, this thought keeps recurring: “Why would God trust me with something so important?’”


Even with just a little responsibility we can be guilty of being rendered motionless through fear or insecurity.


It’s the imposter syndrome of leadership, feeling like the little (or large) that we hold is of no significance or even that we have no place at the table.


But this couldn’t be further from the truth.


I began yesterday by sharing the passage in Numbers 7 where instruction was given by God on how to look after or move the Ark of the Covenant, and all the Holy, sacred items.


Special care was required.


After all, while we have full access to God through the Holy Spirit wherever we are, there was a time in our faith history where God’s presence was contained only in these precious artefacts.


Divided into four groups, every member of the priestly tribe of Levi would have a part to play. In the instructions given by God himself, some groups were apportioned carts (Numbers 7:6); but not the Koathites were not. No, it was the Lord’s decision that this group, whose name means ‘beginning of majesty and instruction’, would carry the holy things on their shoulders.


All of them would have faced uphill struggles, but the Koathites had to carry that weight on their shoulders.


I mean, can you imagine?


The way in which all of humanity could experience God is on their shoulders!


Wow.


It’s heavy for sure. But, what a privilege!


Is it any wonder the ways of the Kingdom are sometimes described as being upside down ?

We have a God who firstly wants to partner with US in seeing every person in our world reunited back to Him, but secondly we are looking for people willing to spend themselves.


That’s us, by the way.


Me and you. .


“We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4


So as heavy as the burden at times can be,

and as inadequate as we can often feel, we have an assurance underpinning everything:


It’s God who appoints, and He wouldn’t set you up to fail.


At his funeral, Eugene Peterson’s son shared a eulogy about his dad. Paying tribute to the creator of the Message Bible, he explained that although his father preached thousands of times he only really had one message:


“God loves you. God is on your side. God is coming after you. God is relentless.”


Let that embolden you today as you lead.



Part four: The weight of change

Right now the process of inching out of lockdown has begun and with it, a season of Church life, like no other time in history, will end.


Nothing about the last 18 months has been easy.


We’ve had to adapt: how we ‘did church’ changed overnight.


We’ve had to learn new skills (everybody say ZOOM!).


We’ve had to pastor and lead our families, villages, towns and cities through a season of immeasurable isolation, loss and disappointment.


We’ve had to BE the Church even as our buildings closed.


As ever though, the Lord has been gracious and compassionate and His Church has beautifully risen: His resurrection people keep on going.


However, even as good reports and miracle testimonies keep coming in; and as we hear salvation stories of people tuning in for their favourite shows only to find Jesus instead; I’ve still asked the Lord for a lighter burden at times.


While we have been chewing over the verses from Numbers 7 this week the penny dropped. Just because He has given us responsibility doesn’t mean He leaves us to it.


Psalm 145:14 says: “The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.”


Imagine what life and leadership could look like if we stepped in to our positions and roles with the confidence that the Lord is right there working with you?


When the passage in Numbers 7 was written, the way man accessed God was through priestly systems and structures. His presence was housed in the artefacts being carried, protected and held on the shoulders of those God had chosen.


Very little has changed today.


As leaders we also have the privilege and burden of looking after the vessels of his presence - His people - at times on our shoulders.


There is a weight and a burden to building God's House.


There is.


But only some people are called to carry what God calls Holy.


He doesn't want his holy things being taken for a ride, mishandled or even looked at in a way less than He imagined for them.


Instead, he only entrusts his most valuable things to some people.



Part five: The weight of His choosing



In Ephesians 4 we read that it’s Jesus himself who gifts certain people to the body: those who are apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor teachers.


Leaders - you are God’s gift to the Church!


He chose you.


I recently had a job interview. As I was setting up the camera for the zoom call I kept thinking back to a previous interview where I massively over sold myself.


I didn’t lie but I projected a confidence much larger than my day-to-day life reflects.


When I got the job I very quickly realised that such false confidence would need to be confronted. I could either keep going doing a poor job, or ask for help - despite the fact I had exuded confidence in my abilities.


In the end I had to ask for help.


And in most aspects of our lives when we do reach out it’s rarely ever immediate or easily accessible.


Help is often at the other side of a waiting period.


It often comes at a cost in the form of extra training or extra time.


But as we lead in our respective spheres of church and ministry no such gap exists.


Psalm 145:18 says: “the Lord is near to all those who call on Him; to all those who call in truth.”


I'm thankful for all the people who carried me on their shoulders over the years.


I’m incredibly grateful to the leaders who stretched and grew their capacity in order to welcome me, to teach me, to model to me Kingdom culture.


And I’m also thankful for the times, which though weighty while I lived through them, afforded an opportunity to take Jesus into some very dark places.


Be encouraged. The role of carrying God's best is a God-given appointment.


Even if in the natural it looks very different...

You aren’t there because a man didn’t step up.

You aren’t there because your husband is a leader.

You aren’t there because someone left.

You are there because Jesus has gifted you to His Church.


It’s time to Rise.





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