Never in the history of Christianity have we had so many famous pastors—and those wanting to become famous—as we do now. But the true spiritual leader, the one with whom God is pleased, has one job and one job only: to make Jesus famous! And if Jesus wants to make the leader famous, well, that is Jesus’ business.
Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 6:27
So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
With the advent of television—and all the media technologies that followed—came the rise of the celebrity preacher. Never in the history of Christianity have we had so many famous pastors—and those wanting to become famous—as we do now. If you’re a spiritual leader and you aren’t hawking several books you have authored, beaming your mug to adoring congregants in a muli-site campus, tweeting to your six figure Twitter followers and getting quoted by the media on the issue du jour, you ain’t all that much.
Of course, media technologies now allow us to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world in unprecedented ways—and that is a great thing. But inherent in this ability to communicate to the masses is the danger of showcasing ourselves. The god of fame is lurking; the seduction of celebrity has never being stronger in the Christian world than it is right now—and that’s not a great thing!
The true spiritual leader, the one with whom God is well pleased, has one job and one job only: to make Jesus famous! And if Jesus wants to make the leader famous, well, that is Jesus’ business. Joshua was a leader that God decided to make famous. Joshua 2:7 and 4:14 says,
The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.” …That day the Lord made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses.
And of course, our featured verse today says, “God was with Joshua. He became famous all over the land.” (The Message) How refreshing! In today’s culture of celebrity where leaders do everything they can to make themselves famous, here is a guy who didn’t have to. God did it. And there is no better PR firm that the Holy Trinity!
What makes a leader great and opens the door to his or her fame? Some would say charisma is the key. Others might say it’s a combination of skill, intellect and the ability to inspire others to accomplish a compelling mission. Then there are those who would argue that not only are charisma and persuasion necessary, but it’s also a matter of being the right person in the right place at the right time.
I wouldn’t argue with any of those ideas. But above all else I would argue that what makes a leader a great and fame-worthy leader is simply God’s touch upon his or her life. Where God makes a man or woman great in the eyes of the people, there you have the makings of a leader who is one for the ages. Joshua was just such a leader.
In Joshua, you find true success! Not that he leveraged his considerable talents, sharp intellect, political capital and magnanimous personality to lead the people to victory, but that God made him great in the eyes of the people. Never did Joshua take any credit for himself in the victories and miracles that God performed. As Moses had been a humble leader, so too was Joshua. Like his predecessor, he was a true servant of God and of the Israelites. He served at God’s pleasure and recognized that his success came only by God’s power and grace. And it was God who made Joshua great before all Israel.
That’s the kind of leader I want to be. I want to be a great leader because of the touch of God on my life; because of the work that he does in, for and through me. If there is anything that makes me worth following, may it be because of what God has done. What I do through my own gifts, personality and personal determination will, at best, quickly fade. But what God does through me will last for all eternity, and best of all, bring all the glory to the God who has equipped me to lead.
What about you? Do you desire to be a leader—a person of influence in your home, school, business or some other arena? You might feel unqualified and unworthy. Part of you may want to let someone else to lead; someone more qualified, smarter, holier, better than you. But it could be that God has placed in you the kinds of gifts, talents, brainpower and favor that he wants to use in leading people to extend his Kingdom in this world.
If God is calling you to leadership, submit your life to him. Then, if he chooses, let God make you great in the eyes of those you would lead.