Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Number Two’s

Meditation for the week of October 14, 2012 the week of October 14, 2012

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  Matthew 16:24

Most people want to be leaders—they might not admit it, but facts are facts. From the time we are about two years old we have a tendency to want to tell others what to do, and we tend to throw temper tantrums if we don’t get our own way.  Most two-year-olds like to be “in charge”.  I wonder if anyone has ever aspired to being a true follower?  You can’t have leaders without them.

When Eve was created from Adam’s side, she was made to be someone that complimented him and made him complete.  She was a help “meet” or a help that was appropriate or suitable for him.  She messed things up for both of them when she failed to remember that he was the leader and she was the follower. 

If we are going to have a President, we also need a Vice-President and a chief of staff.  If we are going to have number one’s, we need to have number two’s (and three’s and four’s and maybe more).  If we are going to have people in charge, we need to have people that are submitting to them.   I have listened to a lot of good teaching on how to develop leaders. We teach that we should be followers of the Lord and we teach that we should submit ourselves to others.  However,  I have heard absolutely no messages on how to be a good number two unless it would be in connection with the women’s role in the church.   But in the church, the emphasis of most ministry is on how to develop leaders in the church, not followers of the leaders.   I do not generally get the idea that being a follower is just as important as being a leader.  I was in a coffee shop this last week listening to two men holding a Bible study on “elders”.  I heard them talk about the qualifications of leaders; but I didn’t hear them talk about the qualifications of followers, and I listened carefully since I had been thinking about this topic.  I think we need to train followers to be good followers just as we need to train them to be future leaders.

Being a follower of the Lord requires self denial since most of us really want to be number one.  We want to order others, not be ordered by others.  However, good followers make their leaders look good.  Women today have trouble accepting their role as followers in the local church and in the home. It is difficult to have a good team in the home when both husband and wife try to take the lead.  No company can run efficiently with everyone “doing what is right in their own eyes.”  Workers need to be properly organized and there needs to be clear lines of authority or confusion results.  Thus, we do have to have good leaders.  However, being a good follower is just as important as being a good leader.  My question is, “Should we only be followers until we get the chance to be leaders?  Or could a person please the Lord by aspiring to be a good follower that never wants the pressure and criticism and insight that it takes to be a good leader?”

The Bible talks about the gift of “helps” (1 Corinthians 12:28).  Phoebe was a “succourer” or helper or possibly assistant of many (Romans 16:2).  She was commended for her role in the work of the Lord.  There are many “followers” that know more and are more technically proficient than the people to whom they are subject.  But a good leader recognizes his own limitations and uses and develops abilities in his followers that compliment his abilities.  He sets the goals and the boundaries and then turns the gifted loose to “help” him accomplish those goals.  A good number two or number three knows how to get the job done, but they also know that they are making the “boss” look good, and likely he will get the credit.  That is why a good follower has to deny himself by losing his ego and being satisfied when he or she knows that the job couldn’t have been done without them. 

Number twos in the Scriptures include Joseph in prison and in Egypt.  We look at him as number one but he was really making number one look good.  Pharoah knew a good man when he was introduced to one.  Daniel was a number two even though we like to think of him as number one  (See Daniel 2:48).  Mordecai did quite well as number two (Esther 10:3).  As a matter of fact, number two’s in the old testament often appeared to be the number one’s even though they themselves were subject to others.

We need to train more number two’s.  We have plenty of number one’s.  We make the Lord look good when we are truly His followers.  We make the leaders in the church look good when we learn to be good followers of them. 

Bruce Collins

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