Recently Mike Bickle spoke of the burden of leadership that has befallen us with the advent of the God.tv age here at IHOP. The one-eyed monster cameras seem to be everywhere, superseded in presence only by the green eyed monster within each of us, wondering how we looked when the camera panned our way.
This is what it means to help to lead the world in prayer...the world watches. Even when you wish they wouldn't.
Reading this morning in I Kings 19, I sensed that this is what Elijah meant in his conversation with Elisha. God tells Elijah to go anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. He finds Elisha working in the fields where he lays his coat over him, symbolic of the passing of authority, and walks away.
Elisha runs after him and says "Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye...and then I'll come with you."
Elijah, very aware of the burden of leadership, advises his young understudy this way: "Go back. What have I done to you?"
Great question. What has he done? He's set Elisha up for life under the microscope. A life of being misinterpreted. A life of motives questioned. A life on the leading edge, out front where those following can peg you with stones.
This is why it is noble to aspire to leadership. In the natural, no one who really understands it would touch it with a ten foot pole. In the call of the Spirit, though, none can refuse.
Elijah pulled a Cortez, killing his oxen and abandoning his hope of return to a normal life. This is the strength of the pull of the Spirit on a leader. I pray that when your call comes, you're crazy enough to kill the oxen too.