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Good Morning, Church Family.

Sunday's sermon was from 1 Kings 12:

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:1-15)

12 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from[a] Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” 

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’” 12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 

13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people

The stories of Rehoboam and Jeroboam, along with many other kings in the Old Testament, indeed provide important reminders about leadership. Throughout the Old Testament, there are accounts of various kings who ruled Israel and Judah, and their actions and decisions often had significant consequences for their kingdoms.

Some of these kings were faithful, obedient to God's commands, and led their kingdoms well. They are recorded positively for their leadership and their dedication to following God's guidance. However, a significant number of kings in the Old Testament allowed pride, power, and fear to lead them away from God's ways. This disobedience and self-centeredness often led to self-destruction for the kings themselves and suffering for their kingdoms. Their stories serve as cautionary tales about the pitfalls of leadership when it is not aligned with God's principles.

Pastor Lynne said she should have named this sermon "A Tale of Three Kings" because Rehoboam and Jeroboam represent worldly kings with worldly desires, but we follow a righteous and countercultural King. In Christ, we find a servant leader who challenges the norms of the world. He exemplified humility, compassion, and selflessness, consistently putting the needs of others before His own and redefining leadership by emphasizing love, service, and sacrifice. In Christ, we discover that true leadership is not about lording over others and getting them to do what we want them to do but about uplifting and serving them. Through Christ, we learn that true leadership is about uplifting and serving others, supporting and encouraging them, and placing their needs and well-being before our own desires. 

We can be power brokers and lead by force, manipulation, and justification like Rehoboam. We can listen to the opinions of those around us, conform to the culture, and slip into people-pleasing instead of God-honoring like Jeroboam.  Or we can lead like Jesus. 

We all are leaders, even if it is just in the line at Costco. Even at Costco, we are being observed by others; even at Costco, we represent God and His Kingdom values. How do we interact? Are we courteous? Thoughtful? Helpful? Kind? How do we talk to people? Do we smile? 

Do we see those around us through a heavenly lens and from a kingdom mindset? Or do we see competition, annoyances, incompetency, and obstacles? 

Are we set apart or just like everyone else? 

Are we countercultural or conformed to culture?

As Christians, we are all called to be followers and servants in the ministry of the Gospel. This divine calling should transform our perspective and behavior. People will follow us; we will follow others. Who is following us? Who are we following?

Are we letting Christ lead us?

Jesus says in Philippians 2:3-4, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves." As followers of Christ and ministers of the Gospel, we are tasked with recognizing the intrinsic dignity, value, and purpose of every individual, while our mission is to share the Gospel and uplift and support all people in their journey toward thriving and fulfilling God's divine plan for their lives. 

It is not about us; it is about Him.

Who do you follow?