Toy Soldiers for Jesus



Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

Hearts are like beds and minds—they need to be made up. Just as an unmade bed shows a lack of discipline and an unmade mind shows a lack of determination, so an unmade heart shows a lack of devotion.


Rehoboam was a leader with an unmade heart. His epitaph from God was, “He did evil because he did not set his heart on seeking the Lord (2 Chronicles 12:14).” He never made up his heart, he never decided that he would devote himself to the Lord. Sometimes he did, and then the Lord blessed him. But much of the time he went his own way, his heart devoted to his will rather than the Lord’s. When that happened, the Lord withdrew His blessing and the nation suffered.


During one of his unmade heart times, Shishak, king of Egypt, came to Jerusalem and plundered Solomon’s temple, one of the great wonders of the ancient world. Among other things, they took Solomon’s gold shields, symbols of his power and success, and left Rehoboam with nothing. So Rehoboam had brass shields made—brass shields—to replace Solomon’s gold shields, and each time Rehoboam went to the temple his soldiers would accompany him with his brass shields, playing pretend power, toy soldiers going out in grand procession (2 Chronicles 12:1-11).


We have toy soldiers for Jesus today, Christians who come to church with their brass shields all dressed up to look like gold—their Sunday smiles, their claims of commitment and dedication, and their rarely touched Bibles. When Monday comes, though, they do business just like everyone else. When it comes to their careers or companies, their hearts are not made up. When they get in trouble, they call for prayer, but as soon as the trouble passes, they go back to their old self-dependent ways. The idea that they should entrust their careers or their companies to God is incomprehensible to them.


Pastors can be toy soldiers, too, shepherds who pursue their own interests—their success, their recognition, their power—in the name of Jesus. Their sermons are tarnished brass shields, their leadership focused on gaining crowns for themselves rather than following the man who carried the cross on His back, their leadership gradually morphing from gold to brass.


You know the greatest tragedy in all of this? Many toy soldiers for Jesus think they’re the real thing. Unfortunately, the glitter that comes from their lives isn’t gold, and their followers know it.


So what about your heart? Is it made up? Devoted to God no matter what? Or are you a toy soldier for Jesus?


(from "Toy Soldiers for Jesus" on

Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.


  • Jim and Tammy Sanders

    Toy Soldiers

    Sometimes I am a toy soldier for Christ but when there is time and my faith is ever so week,  I thank the Lord for my wife because she is there beside me to say," God has this." Thank you y'allfrown

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