Jesus has the moral authority to call us to be evangelists

Jesus has the moral authority to call us to be evangelists.

"Moral authority" is a slippery phrase. Some might associate it with the divine right of kings (God-given authority). As God the Son, Jesus would have this kind of "moral authority." But that's not what I'm talking about.

Sometimes, I think that the only authority I have on campus is moral authority. My desire is to never ask students to do anything I'm not willing to do myself. If I ask them to read the Bible, I'd better be doing it myself. If I ask them to pray, I'd better be doing it myself. If I ask them to serve the poor or be discipled or become evangelists, I'd better be doing those things myself.

This generation won't follow leaders who ask them to do something they are unwilling to do themselves (especially if there's no money involved). Leaders who do this lack moral authority. And here's what happens...

The leader says "We should do this" or "We should believe this." And if they're good communicators and the request resonates with us, a lot of us will do or believe the thing that's being asked of us, at least for a while. We'll read, pray, serve and share. We'll do crazy things, sacrificial things, beautiful things, at least for a while.

But eventually, we see through the leader's facade. The phony image of perfection is difficult to maintain. As we do the things we're asked to do and as we deeply believe the things we're asked to believe, we grow. And if the leader isn't doing likewise, growth won't be happening. And this is where authority is lost.

Some leaders will fake growth: tell old stories, exaggerate and lie (I've done this). Some will hammer the guilt-nail to keep the spotlight away from their own inadequacies (I've done this). And some, some few, will make themselves vulnerable and admit that they're asking people to walk a path they're not walking themselves (I've done that). And it's hard, if not impossible, for leaders of volunteers to regain moral authority these days without an honest vulnerability.

Jesus has the moral authority to call us to be evangelists. He was an evangelist himself. Jesus "went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God" (Mark 1:14). He called people to come and follow him (Mark 1:17). He hasn't asked us to do anything that he hasn't done himself.

Let's follow him and let him make us what he wants to make us.

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