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Kings and Priests By John Ortberg
There is an old definition of leadership that says leading people means getting them to want to do what you want them to do. That’s actually much more like herding than leading.
The reason we love leadership so much, but often end up resenting actual leaders, is that its very hard to lead someone without violating their dominion. God is working on a model of leadership that unleashes universal dominion.
In ancient Mesopotamian culture, only kings were made in the image of a powerful god; peasants were actually thought to be made by inferior Gods. This is what the writer of Genesis challenges:
Then God said, “let us make human beings in our image; in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish…”
So God created human beings in his own image, In the image of God he created them; Male and female he created them.
This is single most world-changing truth about human dignity and equality ever recorded.
Imagine what it did to the heart of peasants and slaves when they heard that not just kings but EVERY human being was made in the divine image.
What if there was a community where everybody treated everybody else as if they were a king? Nobody on top; nobody on bottom?
The fact that you were made in the image of God tells you not just about your worth, but also about your destiny. The main point of ‘image of God’ language in scripture is not about some ability or trait we share with God, its about the mission He has given us.
In ancient times, there was no media or internet; the king would set up an image (TSELEM) of himself in every corner of his empire so people would know whose kingdom they were in. Genesis is saying that just as a king would place images of himself around so people would know who was ruling,
‘So God has placed his own image, human beings, into his world so that the world can see who its ruler is.’
N. T. Wright
Through our learning, our work, our culture, our relationships, technology, the arts, medicine; we are with humility to add goodness and beauty to families and societies and creation so that God’s whole project becomes a glorious delight to all who see it.
Your job, your destiny, is to reflect the holy reign of God down on to the earth-to care for all of creation and particularly human beings the way God would want you to; And then to gather up all the goodness and delight of the earth and put it into words and offer it to God in worship.
Your destiny is to be contribute more creative God-given goodness to the earth than you can currently imagine; And to offer more earthy joy and gratitude to God than you can currently contain.
The Bibles’ language for this is: you will be a king; you will be a priest. And this is not a solo act. We are to do this in community. To be a KINGDOM of PRIESTS.
The main task of leaders today is not to build bigger churches. The main task is the creation of a kingdom of priests.
If I am to lead in a way that honors the Imago Dei in each person, I must value the formation of their character above the usefulness of their gifts. I must value the integrity of our community above its visible success. I must fear the rise of sin more than I do the loss of productivity.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the new city, and his servants will worship him…and they will reign for ever and ever.
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