Zeal for Your House has (not always) Consumed Me

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”– Romans 12:11. And yet it would be hard to fault a people for their lack of zeal if those who led them were lacking too. Which is probably why Paul explicitly tells leaders, ‘the one who leads, with zeal’. No escaping it, no skipping it because of my personality type or culture. However it shows, it must show: zeal is a leadership characteristic.

Those are the words, except for the ones in brackets, of Psalm 69:9 and those were the words that Jesus’ disciples recalled when he drove the traders out of the temple. Zeal for your house.

Zeal is a word we leaders often have an uncomfortable relationship with. We can admire passion and wholeheartedness but be wary, cautious & downright resistant of even the faintest whiff of the fanatical. The zealot is ‘fanatical and uncompromising’ which is bad but zeal is ‘great energy & enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective’ which is good.

A zealot is a ‘crank, enthusiast, fan, fanatic, maniac, partisan, puritan, radical, sectarian, supremacist’ and I don’t know many pastors that want more of those in their churches.

But we might want a bit more zealousness, perhaps. We’d like the worship to be sung with ‘gusto’ or the sermons to be preached with ‘passion, spirit & vigour’.

But those who are zealous are a tricky lot. It’s a yes to those who are, ‘ardent, devoted, devout, dynamic, eager, earnest, enterprising, enthusiastic, excited, exuberant, fervent, keen, wholehearted and willing’.

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