God’s Blueprint

by Morris Ruddick on December 19, 2013


© Morris E. Ruddick


“Then Andrew took Simon to Jesus. Jesus beheld him and said, you are Simon son of John; but from now on you will be called Peter, which means rock.” John 1:42

One of the most talented pastors I’ve had occasion to work with has a most unique anointing. In his initial encounters with a person, he typically will discern God’s blueprint for them; and from that point, will nurture the opportunity to see that blueprint manifest. From a natural stance, his ministry is on the unorthodox side. Rather than establishing a structure and fitting people into it, he has built a tapestry of very diverse leaders whose callings have been fitted together, flowing in concert, according to “their blueprint,” that he first saw from the Lord.

That’s exactly what happened with Jesus’ initial encounter with Simon Peter. However, the story of Peter’s development during the course of Jesus’ earthly ministry is filled with an array of misfires; in which from a human standpoint, it would make one wonder what Jesus had seen him; or for that matter, even whether Peter should have been replaced. Yet, that is just the point. God has a blueprint that for most requires a process of development. That process doesn’t typically play out according to a human point of view.
“We regard no one from a human point of view.”
2 Cor 5:16

This same interaction took place with Nathanael. Philip suggested to Nathanael that he come meet the One to whom Moses and the prophets referred. While Nathanael challenged him, he went to meet Jesus anyway. Prior to all that, Nathanael had been wrestling with God in prayer, under a fig tree. Then when he met Jesus, the Lord said, “Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile.”

Not beating around the bush, Nathanael asked how Jesus could possibly know him. So Jesus answered with, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael’s heart was pierced and he responded with “Rabbi, You are indeed the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

Nathanael’s unrestrained, bold candor with his righteous convictions prompted Jesus to discern that like the Patriarch Jacob, that an open heaven would eventually manifest for him.  
“Because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ you believed? You will see greater things than these.” Hereafter you will see heaven open and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
  John 1:47-51

Again, this dynamic was not unlike Jesus’ meeting with the centurion in Matthew 8, who with an unusual grasp of faith, petitioned Him, not for himself, but to heal his paralyzed, tormented servant.

Identifying the Gift
What Jesus did with Peter, with Nathanael and the Centurion was prophetically to discern and then call forth their gift, tied to their calling bearing on God’s plan for their lives. God’s blueprint discerns the kernel of one’s calling, the foundational gift from which the calling will be built.

Mature leadership will be marked by those who see beyond the obvious; to identify and nurture the gift of those they’ve been called to work alongside.
“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.”
Prov 18:16

Yet, the subtle deception for spiritual leaders, then and now, is in failing to see the process in the path leading to a person’s calling.

The Challenge
At the crux of this deception is restraining opportunity because of what is seen on a natural level; as the process is overshadowed by the flaws and misfires. At its extreme are those, not unlike the rigidly religious, self-righteous Pharisees, who approach this “process” by actually seeking the flaws and prematurely attempting to anticipate and stamp out what they project as being the devil’s blueprint. With this approach, Peter would have never made it to the significant role he had in the early church.

This short-sighted orientation is at the heart of why Jesus challenged myopic leadership; those whose grasp of truth tends to digress into fetishes that create stumbling blocks for those reaching for God’s blueprint for their lives.
“Hypocrites, you shut off the Kingdom of Heaven for men; for you neither go in yourselves nor do you allow those entering to go in.”
Matt 23:13

What Jesus modeled in nurturing the calling of Peter challenges us on three levels. The first level is in transcending the limitations of the natural realm; and in discerning and crossing into the threshold, the step-beyond, into the spiritual.

The second is in avoiding premature, short-sighted judgments that second-guess and jump to conclusions like the Pharisees who shut off the Kingdom for those entering.

The third-level is averting the inclination to give-up or to cave-in when faced with stumbling or failure when seeking a calling beyond ones human capabilities.  
“A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.”
Prov 24:16

Nurturing the Gift
This dynamic is at the heart of Jesus’ standard of leadership: the progressive raising of the bar in leading by serving; leadership by anointing. It is big-picture leadership driven by the Spirit and by compassion.

The pathway that nurtures one’s calling seldom happens without the anointed role of more mature leaders who understand the path, whose approach is to give of themselves to nurture and mentor when only the stumbling is evident.
“The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
2 Tim 2:2

I thank God for two men of God, who came alongside me as a young believer full of zeal, but without the needed grasp of more than the superficial spiritually. Both were masters of the Word of God, but equally important, they were men of the Spirit. One without the other will fall short of the standard for the nurturing.

Fruit: The Evidence of Leadership
Jesus noted the way that leads to genuine life is narrow and difficult. It is the only pathway to finding God’s blueprint for an individual; but it also marks the standard to be reached for by leaders Jesus referred to as shepherds.

It is revealing, that in the very next verse, Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets. His implication was that there are those who presume to having the answers, but their premises are self-serving, misguided or simply unseasoned; and as such, they divert from the straight and narrow path. Such efforts fall short and will be recognized by their fruit.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”
Matt 7:14-16

God’s standard for leadership will be judged, not by activity, but by its fruits.

To that same point in John 7, Jesus differentiates this shepherd-type of leadership, the fruits of which will be recognized by the lack of drawing attention to themselves.
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him
.” John 7:18

Jesus said He always did those things He saw His Father doing; and that greater things than these would we do, because of Him going to the Father. This is the basic premise of servant leadership. It is the continual, paradoxical choice for those in spiritual leadership: to be led by the Spirit; to lead by the anointing.

Stewardship: The Standard of Leadership
The choice for anointed leadership is much more than the standard marked by the precepts of men. Righteous power was never reserved for the elite or intellectuals, but rather those willing to pay the cost of the narrow path.

The narrow path is what defines righteous leaders. However, when the standard is compromised it leads to the perversion of truth, which distorts truth into superstition. It’s the spiritual seedbed for those the Bible judges as fools and hypocrites; not to speak of eventually digressing into the misuse of power and then into sorcery.
“I thank you Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.”
Matt 11:25

Jesus’ parables of the standard for good stewards (Luke 12 and 16) speak not only of the diligence required for wise and faithful stewardship, but of avoiding the digression into a double-standard when spiritual leadership operates in worldly settings.

Shrewd stewardship by spiritual leaders is administering God’s blueprint on both an individual and community basis. True Kingdom community is the result of when the diversity of gifts is blended to create an output beyond the sum of its individual parts. 
“As their faith grows so you will be within your sphere enlarged even more.”
  2 Cor 10

Responsibility: Leadership to the Community and the Nations
This style of leadership benefits not only individuals whose gifts are nurtured, but the community as a whole. It forms the basis of the community-responsibility dynamic known in Hebrew as tz’dakah (charitable righteousness). Jewish tradition holds that the highest form of tz’dakah is helping someone to start a business; establishing God’s blueprint for them. As the benefit of tz’dakah extends to the community as a whole; it holds the potential for touching the nations.

Joseph the Patriarch was faithful with unrighteous mammon. He was a wise and faithful steward who neither hid nor compromised his standard of righteous power that brought forth fruit and favor at each juncture while in Potiphar’s house and while imprisoned.

His standard of leadership and stewardship became his gateway to his audience with Pharaoh; which led to his promotion and being entrusted with the resources of the land.

Prophetically, Joseph clearly understood his own calling; but also God’s blueprint for those he served, along with the baker and the wine taster. This gift, not unlike that of the pastor I mentioned in the opening, was then extended to Pharaoh and the nation to which the Lord had sent Joseph.

Isaiah 58 outlines bottom-line matters close to God’s heart; matters that motivate Him to act and to move mountains. It begins with a leadership standard that removes the finger pointed in scorn. Where the leadership mode is the finger pointed in scorn; the sheep will be vulnerable and subject to being scattered because of the void of the righteous leadership of a true shepherd.
“They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.”
Ezek 34:5

Having removed the finger pointed in scorn, Isaiah 58 picks up on applying God’s blueprint: a role of building and nurturing with focus given to those within the community; not just the capable and ambitious, but those who have lost hope, who are so behind the eight-ball that the bondage prevents them from helping themselves; yet ones for whom God still has a blueprint.
“As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Gal 6:10

Mature leadership will be marked by those who see beyond the obvious; to identify and nurture the gift of those they’ve been called to work alongside.

The measure of true Kingdom leadership is to discern God’s blueprint operating in those being led; and then to foster the alignment needed to bring that calling to the next level. It doesn’t happen overnight and even with the seasoned, it requires a continual reaching for the progressively higher standard.
“It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me.”
Gal 2:20

In Matthew 25:31 Jesus pointed to the time when the nations would be judged and He separates the sheep from the goats. “Nations” will be judged; by virtue of responding to God’s blueprint for them, as Egypt responded to Joseph’s guidance and God’s plan for them as a safe-haven through the time of famine.

Then the King said, “Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in.” Then He reveals what had been involved: reaching out with God’s blueprint.
“Inasmuch as you did this to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Matt 25:40

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