I am the Eggman. I am the Walrus.Coo coo kachoo

Nonsensical lyrics penned by John Lennon left people grappling for his message. What is the eggman? Who is the walrus? Is it “coo coo kachoo” or “goo goo ga jube,” Humpty Dumpty’s last line before he fell off the wall to his death?

I’ve always, right or wrong, interpretted the eggman and walrus to be the center of attention and the final authority in the song. The Eggman and Walrus were, in my mind, the key players that really mattered.

In my continuing studies of biblical leadership I’ve been given much to wrestle with. What is a true leader by biblical standards?
I’ve read the books advising pastors to take control and exercise “pastoral authority” in leading their congregation. I’ve read the advice to make sure my name is printed boldly and large across the top of my letterhead. I’ve scratched my head hearing advice to place my desk between myself and those who come into my office and to make sure that my chair is just a bit higher up than those who enter into my dwelling. Afterall, I am the Eggman, right?

Eugene Peterson, tongue in cheek, wrote in “Working the Angles” that he is convinced that he could take any high school graduate and make him an accepted pastor in today’s church by providing a six-month intensive with a four course curriculum. Course 1, he says, would focus on creative plagiarism supplying the tools for speaking with wit an wisdom simply by following the outlines found in books or through online resources. Course 2 would focus on voice control for prayer and counseling to provide a “holy Joe intonation.” Course 3 would provide tools for efficient office management to give the appearance of a tight ship. Lastly, course 4 would present image projection focusing on a half-dozen devices to create the impression that we are “terrifically busy and widely sought after for counsel by influential people.”

Biblical leadership is very different from secular leadership. It has nothing to do with self-elevation techniques and everything to do with reputation. When Paul warmly greeted the Thessalonians in the first three chapters of his first letter we see intimacy, integrity, sincerity and a reputation that cause people to want to follow his leadership. When we read Psalm 15 we discover that God desires authenticity that is shown in action. He desires men and women who reflect His heart and character.

Peterson believes in what he calls “angles” of ministry. Preaching, teaching and administration are the visible lines to a triangle and the angles are prayer, study of Scripture and then spiritual direction that we give to others.

My spiritual gifts, according to a variety of assessments are leadership and administration followed by preaching and teaching and hospitality. That gift mix, I am told, is a solid mix for pastoral ministry. Honestly I wonder why things feel so frantic if I do have this supposed “right mix” for ministry?
I suspect Peterson is accurate when he explains the stress that comes in church climates that seem to, “do their best to fill our schedules with meetings and appointments so that there is time neither for solitude nor leisure to be before God, to ponder Scripture, to be unhurried with another person.”
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Be still and know that I am God.

But Lord, I have no time to be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

Sorry Lord, I have another meeting at 7.

Be still and know that I am God.

Lord, you understand that I have to get the publicity done for that upcoming event, right?

Be still and know that I am God.

I have to go to that special service.

Be still and know that I am God.

And what am I to do with the man who has cancer? The teenager who is confused? The young couple that is coming at 5?

Be still and know that I am God.
I know you are God but get off my back. I don’t have time to be still. I am the eggman. I am the walrus. Too many people are depending on me. I, I, I … me, me, me…

BE STILL. I AM GOD.

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The Lord is working on me. Is it possible to “do church” so much that we miss the point? Is it possible to be so focused on building attendance and adding good church programs that I cause people to feel the same frantic stress I feel? Is it possible to help hurried believers clear off their plates, head to the mountain and seek God in solitude?

Right now, I’m a good administrator and a decent preacher who is out of balance. The weight of work is pressing, pressing, pressing and consuming my life, my energy and my intimacy with God. I study Scripture for others, I pray for others and give hurried advice looking over the shoulder of the people I encounter to that next thing coming down the road. Like Jesus, I need to push away from the crowd and head up the mountainside where I can be still and rest in God.

I am not the eggman.
I am not the walrus. I am not the Light, I am only a light pointing to the Light.

Biblical leadership and integrity is not measured by the size of our programs, overflowing budgets, published works, name-dropping and self-elevation. It is measured by what the bible calls “fruit that will last.” Biblical leadership reflects the heart and character of Jesus and compels others to follow a reasonable and achievable example that is lived out in front of them. It is 2 Tim 2:2 and the partnership talked about in Phillipians 1. Biblical leadership is not “lording over” people and making demands from position or status but walking alongside people and inviting them to a relationship.

I want to be a leader who reflects the heart and character of my Lord. Maybe that means working at Walmart and having a casual group in my home where we share life and be the church? Maybe it means clearing my ministry plate and starting again with a new set of definitions for success.

The stirring continues …

About Scott Linscott

Living life to the fullest, walking in the dust of my Rabbi, creating art through photography and written word, speaking words of hope and encouragement at conferences, workshops, church and civic gatherings.
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