What the leaders brought for the work of the tabernacle in the wilderness, captured in two verses starting with the focus verse, were onyx stones, spices for fragrance, and oil. We would examine what these qualities have to do with spiritual leadership in the church today.
The onyx is a precious stone and therefore scarce. It is a stone of beauty and strength.
Note that leadership in the church is about God’s choice. It is not a job you apply for. It is not for volunteers. It is not about your background.
For example Paul did not volunteer to be an apostle (Acts 9:1-22). He was arrested by God. It was about the plan of God from the foundation of the earth. The bible says that God has set some in the church, and in the list are the apostles, prophet, teacher evangelist, pastor. God set them, they did not set themselves (1Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:10-11).
However though you are chosen, there is a way you full explore the possibility of the call via diligence. Again we can learn from the life of Paul, who after he was called by God to preach his word among the gentiles, set out on the work with uncommon zest. He was called, but he that he laboured more than all other apostles and he has the evidence to show for it (1Corinthians 15:9-10).
While talking about himself and Apollo, he said that he laid the foundation for others to build on, adding that no other foundation can be laid except that which is laid, which is Jesus (1Corinthians 3:1-15). As the foundation, Jesus is the context for all other parts of the building. He added that everyone who builds on the foundation should be careful what he uses.
Structures that will last the test of fire, need to be built with gold, silver and precious stones. What determines the quality of material we use to build is our motivation. With the gold standard motivation, we build something of the highest quality. The building, the quality, motivation and content must be about alignment with what is in the mind of God, otherwise it is substandard.
What should built should be of the highest standard because what we are building is not for now but for the future. We are building an habitation for God in the spirit (Ephesians 2:22). It is no mean building.
Writing to Timothy Paul addressed another dimension to this discourse. He said those who will be anyone to be fit for the use of the master for noble use have to purify themselves (2Timothy 2:19-22). Therefore he told Timothy he needed to flee from youthful lust, and to purify himself from what corrupts others.
The quality of your life is linked with the quality of what you are able to build. Remember that Judas was called but he fell by the wayside (Acts 1:15-20). And Demas, having loved this present world, stopped being part of the apostolic team of Paul (2Timothy 4:10).
Our motivation needs to be purified. We need to settle in our minds what we are serving for: either money or God, either ourselves or God. And there are tests to examine our heart along the way. We need a rethink of the way we do things, and the reason for them, so that at the end, Jesus will not say to us: I do not know you, you workers of iniquity (Luke 7:22-23), but hear from God: well-done good and faithful servant (Luke 19:17).
Paul wrote: through us the fragrance of the knowledge of God was being spread abroad (2Corinthians 2:14). Spice which is noted for the fragrance it emits is the influence that you can cast on others because of your knowledge of God. But if you do not know how can you teach?
Jesus sent his disciples to instruct those who will believe what he had taught them (Matthew 28:18-20). Peter said that the word of Jesus are spirit and life (John 6:63). He was under the spice of the knowledge of God coming from Jesus and he could not get enough.
The word “spice” appeared a few times in the book of Song of Solomon which is about a love affair between a man and a woman which typifies the relationship between Jesus and the church.
The man has a garden of spices and he asks the wind to come to blow on it to spread it abroad (Song of Solomon 4:16). That is picturesque of the Holy Spirit (wind) (John 3:5-8) influencing the church (garden) (1Corinthians 3:9) to spread the message of Jesus (spice).
The wind knows no limit. Even in countries where the political system is stacked against the church, the knowledge of Jesus is spreading. Also on the airways the spice of the knowledge of Jesus is spreading throughout the world. The question is: how much of the divine spice is flowing through your ministry?
The oil is directly linked with the Holy Spirit. While the stone stands for the right quality and character, the spice stands for right knowledge, and the oil is about the power of God to cause the supernatural to happen.
These three things define the spiritual leadership in the church. So to measure the effectiveness of any in the fivefold ministry, it is about those three things.
It is not enough to have great knowledge, we need great character. But we would be deceived to think that all we need is great character and/or knowledge.
Paul said that when he came to the church in Corinth, he did not go with the excellence of human wisdom but the demonstration of the spirit and power (1Corinthians 2:4), so that the faith of the people will not be rest on the wisdom of men but the power of God.
The Holy Spirit and leaders
In all the three dimensions of spiritual leaders, the Holy Spirit is the key. Jesus specifically told the Apostles that the Holy Spirit will be in them (John 14:17). Remember Paul said that God is at work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). That working is of the Holy Spirit.
When it comes to character, the Holy Spirit changes us to begin to reflect Jesus. He poured out the love of God in our heart, so that our lifestyle will reflect that (Romans 5:5).
When it comes to knowledge, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge and understanding (Isaiah 11:1-2). He is the spirit of revelation (Ephesians 1:15-18).
And for the manifestation of power, we have the Holy Spirit as the spirit of power (Isaiah 11:2), responsible for all the supernatural manifestation in the life of Jesus (Acts 10:38) and in our too.
- Our Armor (fellowshiproom.org)
- Christ the Head and Christ the Body by Apostle Tim Early (fivefolddavidicalschool.ricardoequips.com)
- How to Establish the Canonicity of the Scriptures Using ONLY the Scriptures (godsbreath.net)
- The Ascension marks our new beginning in Christ (catholicherald.co.uk)