by Ray Stedman,
introduced by Jim Denney
from Ray Stedman on Leadership,
new from Discovery House Publishers
Ray Stedman was the pastor of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, for four decades, from 1950 until his retirement in 1990. I began working as Ray’s writing partner in 1992, the final year of his life. He was a faithful expositor of the Scriptures and a leader of character and integrity. For more than twenty-five years, I’ve been privileged to work with transcripts and recordings of his sermons, helping to turn them into books with the help and blessing of Ray’s widow, Elaine Stedman. I think this latest book, Ray Stedman on Leadership, may be my favorite among the twenty-five books I’ve worked on with Ray and Discovery House Publishers. Here’s an excerpt:
“Leaders are Accountable to God” from Ray Stedman on Leadership
My mentor, Dr. H. A. Ironside, told of an experience he had at a restaurant. His meal had just been set before him when a man walked up to his table and said, “Do you mind if I sit down with you?”
“Not at all,” Dr. Ironside said.
The stranger seated himself across the table and Dr. Ironside bowed his head and said a silent word of thanks to the Lord.
The man said, “Do you have a headache?”
“No, I feel fine.”
“Is something wrong with your food?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“I saw you with your head down and I thought there must be something wrong.”
“No, I always give thanks to God before I eat.”
“Oh,” the stranger said, “you’re one of those, are you? I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t need to thank anybody. I just start right in!”
“Ah,” Dr. Ironside said, “you’re like my dog. He does that, too.”
Human beings who will not give thanks to God are like irrational animals. They lose a bit of their humanity. Even godless people have a duty to worship God. Their unbelief is no excuse, because God’s eternal power and divine character can be clearly seen in nature. Paul in Philippians 2:10 tells us that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” — and those who refuse to willingly bow the knee to Him in this life will bow to Him on the Day of Judgment.
We are all accountable to God, and leaders are doubly accountable. Hebrews 13:17 reminds us that leaders must one day give an account to God for their actions, words, and decisions as leaders. So let’s decide now to live the kind of lives we will not be ashamed to give an account for. Let us be leaders who practice godliness — God-like-ness — so that we can stand before God and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” —1 Timothy 3:1-3
Note from Jim Denney: While working on Ray Stedman on Leadership, I spent many rewarding hours reading Ray’s other books—Body Life, Adventuring Through the Bible, God’s Unfinished Book, Psalms: Folk Songs of Faith, and more. From them, I distilled Ray’s most practical and penetrating leadership wisdom into forty daily readings. Each entry is followed by a set of discussion and reflection questions, making this an ideal study book for a church board or committee, home Bible study, adult Sunday school class, Christian business, mission team, or any other setting where biblical leadership plays a key role.