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Many people want the privilege and pay that goes with leading in the system. But, because we have learned that leadership in the kingdom of heaven is not all glamour and glory, there are few people in our community who have been willing to take on the responsibilities of a leader. And those who have consented to give it a go, often drop their bundle when it gets a bit hard.

God is amazingly tolerant and surprisingly harsh at the same time. He just dumps trials on us at times and leaves us to sort it all out, despite all our screaming and hollering that it's too much to bear. I know that he often comes to our aid too; but on the whole, he lets his rain fall on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), and he specialises in giving us the grace to endure.

With that thought in mind, I feel less guilty about having to rebuke people within our community when they don't do what they should be doing. At worst, I may be too harsh, and yet, even if that is true, God allows it because he thinks you should be able to take it. But there's also the possibility that he really wants you to cop the criticisms, so that you can change.

Consider the servant who buried his talent. Notice that his reason for doing it was because his boss was cranky. He says, "I knew that you were an austere [or harsh] man." (Luke 19:21) Isn't that what some of you are doing, i.e. burying your talents because you know I'm an austere man. But what happens to the servant who buries his talent? Isn't he cast into outer darkness, where there is gnashing of teeth? (Matthew 25:30) What a shocking end for a "servant"! Fair enough for "enemies", but you would think a servant could get a bit more mercy.

Some of you have told yourselves that you're just going to take the minimum risks to get into heaven (rather than going for anything big by taking on bigger responsibilities). You could be in for a rude awakening. Burying your talents in this way could be compared to being "lukewarm", something Jesus hates even more than rebellion. (Revelation 3:16)

I'm not asking that people have breakdowns; but I am asking that they grow up and start taking correction like adults rather than whimpering children, so that we can get the job done. It is very frustrating as a leader to have a bunch of troops that all need special tags on their files saying things like, "Can't be trusted in certain situations," "Will spit the dummy if pushed," or "Take what he says with a grain of salt."

I will do the best that I can with you guys as you are, and I do appreciate the efforts that people are making; but think of the possibilities that we could achieve if you would all welcome spiritual growth and actually seek after it... whatever the cost.

Playing chess, running, and growing spiritually all have to do with measuring performance and striving for improvement. Some people hate taking responsibilities because they hate being "measured" on their performance. They would rather do nothing with their lives. And so they miss out on the rewards that can come from success.

Nothing ventured; nothing gained... and perhaps a great deal lost!

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