Remove not the ancient landmark, which Thy fathers have set – Proverbs 22.28
In your life you will have landmarks. You will have already encountered some, and will no doubt encounter more. All leaders, to be good leaders, need to recognize and highlight landmarks in their journey and in the journey of others.
One of the greatest landmarks in your life is people who have been put in place by God to lift you to another place and get you further in your dreams than every before.
In the first of the book of Daniel we find out that “the Lord gave Jehoiakim, King of Judah, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar”. The newspapers would have said “Nebuchadnezzar beat Judah in a big battle”, but that’s not what the Scripture said. God put Jehoiakim in the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
God put Nebuchadnezzar in charge of the nation, and demoted Jehoiakim. God is still God! He will bring certain people into your life whether you want Him to do it or not! Whether you receive from them or not is up to you, but God will bring the right people into your life. Your job is to recognize the landmark people and welcome them and receive from them.
This is vital! Sometimes God brings a message to us in a person who we would not welcome in the flesh – they may not be the age, or gender, or race we want them to be – but we still have to learn from them. This is what the Bible consistently teaches. You can actually see several times in the Scripture where people didn’t just fail to welcome their landmark people that God was bringing into their life – but they actively fought against them.
He sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants more than the first, and they did unto them likewise (Matthew. 21.34-36)
This is a warning from Jesus to you – don’t reject and don’t fight the landmark people God puts in your path. Rather honour them with all of your heart, see their entrance into your life as a supernatural event with the backing and planning of God. Then – you benefit from them and end up having a divine appointment, not a carnal disappointment. And as a leader, you need to teach people to recognize and honour their landmark people.
So who are these landmark people? You have several right now, whether you recognize them or not. Here are seven:
- The person who led you to the Lord. Never fail to give that person a special, special place in your life. Your greatest treasure is your reborn spirit, and never forget the person you helped you encounter the grace and resurrection power of Jesus. I was led to the Lord by a Glaswegian preacher named Kenny McKey, and I am blessed to have heard that message that evening.
- The first person who opened the Bible to you. I will never forget the legacy of George Donald who first showed me the Bible was not a dusty old textbook but a living book written by a living God.
- The person who inspired you to enter ministry. If there was no Eli, we would have no Samuel, no King David, no King Solomon, no Psalms, no Proverbs, no future for Israel. Honour your Eli’s! The truth is many, many people will discourage you from entering ministry. They will tell you it is hard (it is), it tends to poverty (it can, especially if you are starting off or pioneering), that you won’t ever achieve anything (that’s just a lie). They will infect you with their fear and keep you out of ministry. The people who stand by you, encouraged and inspired you to be a minister are worthy of great admiration and honour. I was eating pizza with my pastor in Dundee, Scotland, planning to spend the rest of my life with (boring!) computers. He said to me you are called to ministry and encouraged me to go to Bible College. His name was Graham McClellan and I honour him!
- The person who is your biggest example. Sometimes I joke I will buy a WWRMD bracelet, because Robert Maasbach has been just a great example to me and a great living, breathing picture of being an awesome pastor. If you are a pastor, then there are vital skills in the ministry – pastoring, loving, witnessing, preaching, follow up, people skills, wisdom for all areas. The people who are examples in these area should be honoured. They are truly landmarks in your life.
- The person who opened that door for you. Barnabas took Paul and brought him to the apostles and told the apostles about how he saw the Lord in Paul’s life and ministry (it’s in Acts 9). That’s a big door opener. Don’t ever forget people like that. They have changed your life. Who laid hands on you and ordained you a pastor? Who opened their pulpit to you? You could not have done that yourself, and you need to honour these people, they are landmark people. I have had a few people open a few doors for me, and I am expecting some big doors to open soon. But always honour the door openers!
- Your spiritual father. Who is that? The person who had faith in you and believed in your ministry. When I was running one church of 20-something people (30 was a crowd), Dave Duell believed in me. He loved me just the way I was, but he put wisdom and impartation into my life many times over. He came to us again and again, not for gain, not for personal fame, not for anything other than he believed in me. How can you tell a father in the faith? They don’t leave behind institutes, they leave behind sons. We are now five churches, with plans to open at least another five (if not seven) next year. That is sonship. That is what happens when someone believes in you. That is someone you must honour.
- Your forerunner. Unless you are totally dumb, you will not build alone, you will build on the shoulder’s of giants. There are people who have gone before. Preaching grace in England is hard enough – can you imagine doing it if there was no Andrew Wommack giving away free tapes and ploughing up the religious ground? Solomon enjoyed the victories David won, and got to spend his time building not fighting. I know I am leaving a legacy so others can build not fight, but I also know I am building some people because others fought first. Moses outlived all the grumbling elders, quelling rebellion after rebellion, so Pastor Joshua could enter the promised land without them. Moses, through decades of hard work taught the discontented, rebellious, childish, immature, foolish nation that they needed to believe God and believe their leader. He was the forerunner to Joshua. I am grateful to Andrew Wommack for being the forerunner for all of us teaching grace and ploughing hard ground so we can build
Who are your landmark people? You need to honour them. You could text them, phone them, write them a letter – you could also tell us on this post who some of them are and why they are important.
Next week: landmark events and how to honour them