Seasons Come, Seasons Go: Time to Plant
By Steve Cartin, MDiv | February 20, 2018
by Steve Cartin, MDiv
As my good friend and transition expert Dr. Bill Davis reminds us, “One day, every practice will transition.” Some of those transitions will not be planned and others will be planned. Some will be planned effectively, others will not.
Just as every practice will one day transition, so also every season of leadership in which God has placed us will one day come to an end. When it does, how will your life’s story be written? What legacy will you leave?
Two leaders from the pages of Holy Scripture help us to understand the processes and responsibilities we have as leaders who understand that one day we will fade off the scene for any of a variety of factors. The sooner we get busy putting these processes in place and accepting these responsibilities, the more likely we will one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV). Let’s hear what God’s Word tells us about these two great leaders.
Ezra: Getting it Right
“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10, NKJV).
When Ezra looked out over Judah after returning to Jerusalem, things did not look good for the future of God’s people. Although Ezra himself was a great leader, there was much work to be done before the land produced either new crops of food or new crops of leaders. The dry, barren land had to be cultivated and hearts had to be strengthened.
Ezra applied a three-step process for ensuring the future of God’s people. First, he carefully tended his own heart. Secondly, he practiced what God’s Word directed him to do. And finally, Ezra exported his clear understanding and application of God’s word to all his countrymen. His efforts started by preparing his heart and then, in turn, extended to the work of his hands. Only the life which duplicates the mind and will of God deserves to be extended to a wider audience. Christian dental leaders who seriously desire to leave a spiritual legacy of impacting the lives of others can learn a lot from the processes Ezra put into place in his own live.
Paul: Passing It On
It’s one thing to have a day-to-day commitment to following Christ. It’s another to have a strategy for empowering that legacy to live beyond one’s own direct influence. Paul told young Pastor Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, NKJV).
There must be other fertile hearts into which the seeds of leadership are planted. Finding faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who are just as determined to plant their own seeds in God’s timing empowers Christian leadership to grow with compounded spiritual interest.
CMDA’s Dental Residency program gives life to the enduring impact of Christian dentists who understand that the mission far outweighs the missionary. Beyond the life-changing contributions that one sold-out dental professional can make are those that will endure, multiply and create a worldwide movement.
In just a few years I have been blessed to watch this program develop from a distance by reading or hearing updates and by personally being blessed by residents and graduates of the program. Its senior leadership team has focused both on getting it right like Ezra and passing it on like Paul.
Whenever you pray, give, volunteer or support this ministry, you join God in the work He is doing now and for decades to come around the world into which He commanded us to go. And more than that, the program which has matured in Memphis, Tennessee presents a model which can be fleshed out in the leadership God has given to you in your local practice or community—grounded in God’s Word, empowered by His Spirit, a committed community of faith doing life together, sacrificially serving and intentionally replicating to outlive any one person for the glory of Christ.
What are you doing to prepare for that time when your season of leadership comes to an end? You don’t have to go to Memphis to experience the reality of reaching God’s world with His saving gospel. But you don’t have to look any farther to see that it can happen.
How many seeds are there in an apple? It varies, usually six to eight. Whatever the number, you can always count the number of seeds in an apple. What you can never count is the number of apples in a seed.
Plant a seed today and watch it grow!
(NOTE: My statements regarding the program in Memphis are not meant to be exhaustive or definitive. They are simply my observations of a ministry that is multiplying and carrying out the Great Commission by “working heartily as unto the Lord” through the ministry of dentistry.)
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