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Leadership expert John Maxwell says that leadership is influence. Leaders influence people around them both by the words they say and the way they behave. The priests of Malachi’s day come in for more criticism in this passage.
It starts with an accusation that their relationship with God is not right, that they don’t take God seriously. That leads to a lack of commitment to their duties as priests. God says he will punish them for their deeds. When they give a blessing, God will reverse it and turn it into a curse. Instead of an eagerness to spread knowledge about God and an opportunity to instruct the people in the ways of God, they have turned their backs on him. Neither their teachings nor their lives reflect the true nature of the God they serve or the task to which they have been given responsibility.
They are reminded of their ancestor Levi from whom all priests were descended. God made an agreement with Levi and blessed him. Levi kept his side of the agreement and honoured and respected God. His is an example to hold up and to follow.
Leadership is an awesome responsibility. The Bible contains some harsh words for leaders in God’s kingdom community who fail in their responsibilities to lead effectively. Leaders are human beings with all the traits of others, able to succeed and able to fail. For those of you who lead, do it well. Honour and respect God’s name. All of us can pray for our leaders and encourage them so they can be the men and women God has called them to be.
Loving God, righteous in all your ways, help our leaders to live for you, so that your people might follow your ways. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.