“So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”
—1 Corinthians 3:21-23
The unity that we share is not a result of our history, structure or best efforts. The unity that we share is a precious gift from God that is centered in Jesus Christ. Being a Lutheran Christian is not about Martin Luther or some elected official, but the recognition that we are all beggars dependent solely upon the grace of God, who called us to faith in Christ. There are people and reasons within and outside of our church body that would seek to separate and divide. Even when we elect leaders, we do so trusting not in individuals, but in Jesus, the Lord of the Church. For all things belong to God and not to us, even this earthly institution we can a church body.
As congregations and leaders in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, we must always be on guard against letting the focus be on us and our accomplishments, bur rather on Christ who continues to lead His Church. So whether we are a group of women in Mobile, teen-agers in Minneapolis, pastors and laypeople in Tampa or faithful servant at your congregation in Missouri, our focus is on Christ! Themes and taglines may make for nice banners and websites, but our singular gaze remains on the One who died and rose and reigns over all things.
The future of our congregations and our Church Body rests not in the hands of our leaders, but in the hands of our gracious God. While we pray that the Lord would give us faithful leaders, our trust in not in human beings who cannot save, but Jesus, the one Savior of the world. My hope and prayer is that we do not boast about leaders, but trust in God to give us faithful leaders, who seek to serve Him and those for whom the have responsibility. Ultimately, leaders come and go, but the Lord abides with His Church through His Word. May God spare us from the divisions over leaders that so easily entrapped the Corinthians and keep our focus on Christ and Him alone. For in Him is the present and the future, even unto eternal life.
Prayer – Gracious Lord and Shepherd, grant to those entrusted with special responsibilities zeal and faithfulness to perform the task of building up Your Church, bringing glory to Your saving name; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan