As the prophet Isaiah attempted to bring God’s people back to obedience, he challenged the spiritual leaders. God appointed watchmen to watch over the people and to pray for them continually (Isa 62:6).
In addition to praying for the people, he also gave them very specific instructions:
Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples (Isaiah 62:10).
The Bible is full of imagery about ministers clearing the path, but have you ever thought what that really means? It means that people under our care need to get closer to the Lord and obstacles abound. They are everywhere. Carnage and wreckage and distractions are not only on the roadside but are actually in the road itself.
If not careful, ministers can actually throw more roadblocks on the path than successfully remove the preexisting obstacles.
It happens more than we think. If you are called to lead others closer to God, have you ever considered that you might be part of the problem?
This happens when:
- We fail to keep a close watch on our teaching (1 Tim 4:16)
- We give a poor model to imitate (Heb 13:7)
- We live under reproach (1 Tim 3:1-2)
- We fail to show simplicity and sincerity in our leadership (2 Cor 1:12)
- We do not count the cost of our endeavors and never finish what we started (Luke 14:28)
- We have acted as poor shepherds who have actually scattered and driven the sheep away (Jer 23:2)
- We have not fed existing sheep or searched for lost sheep but instead focused on ourselves (Ezek 34:8)
- We stop looking at the sheep entrusted to us with compassion (Matt 9:36-38)
- We serve the sheep because we have to rather than we get to (1 Pet 5:2)
- We show partiality and favor to those who have it all together (James 2:1)
Instead of spiritual leaders clearing the path, sometimes they clutter the path.
If you are responsible for anyone, I exhort you: remove the obstacles in front of them and stop adding more to the pile! Clear the path. Make the road smooth and remove what obstacles you can. And above all else, don’t add anymore to the path. People need to see the Lord, let us make a clear highway for them to behold him!