God's Choice of a Leader
...just because someone is a leader does not mean that he or she is a good leader.
While leadership guru John Maxwell is known for saying, “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” after spending time in the Book it’s obvious where this profound statement came from – the living words of God. Nearly every page in the Bible underscores the significance of leadership. In fact, the very theme of God’s word (scripture composed of 66 books: the Holy Bible) revolves around a King on a throne – LEADERSHIP.
Keep in mind that just because someone is a leader does not mean that he or she is a good leader. Some of the greatest leaders of our world work for the prince of the power of the air. The Bible vividly exposes these kinds of influential leaders.
I could write page after page of the character qualities a true leader should exemplify, but for the sake of time and space, here are four of what I believe to be the most important elements of a good leader:
One who is faithful
One who can biblically handle opposition
One who has the heart of a servant
One who reproduces himself
Although the moon sits in darkness, it keeps reflecting light FAITHFULLY. Christian, understand that YOU are like the moon.
There’s one quality in leadership that God looks for more than anything else. It’s not how well you can read or teach. It’s not your charisma. It’s not how well you can sing or dance. It’s not how intelligent you are. And it’s definitely not what position or title you carry. It’s FAITHFULNESS.
I Timothy 1:12 -- And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
God gives you a ministry when you are FAITHFUL to Him. And this especially includes being faithful in the small things (Luke 16:10). We once had a college student who was being discipled in our local church ask if we could start a Bible study on campus. That’s great! So we then asked him who he’d already been ministering to on that campus. Silence. My missions pastor in Kansas City always said that you have no business being sent out as a missionary in a foreign field if you’re not a missionary where you’re currently at!
There’s something else about a leader’s faithfulness that we need to underscore. It’s the fact that it will be both tested and rewarded. There are countless stories of men and women who never renounced their faith in the Bible and in the Lord Jesus Christ, and as they were getting ready to die they would look at their executioners and preach the Gospel to them. That’s loyalty. Faithfulness. It’s like the moon that sits in darkness:
Psalms 89:36-37 -- His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.
Although the moon sits in darkness, it keeps reflecting light FAITHFULLY. Christian, understand that YOU are like the moon. You have no light of your own, but you reflect GOD’S light. He appointed you to “rule” (to lead) the night (representing the Church Age prior to the “day of the Lord”). So during your most difficult and darkest moments, keep reflecting God’s light FAITHFULLY. One day He will tell us to give an account of what we did with what He gave us. I desperately hope to hear, “Well done thou good and FAITHFUL servant.”
Opposition comes in many forms for God’s leader, but if I were to narrow down the top three to be aware of they would be pride, envy, and uncleanness.
If you are going to be a spiritual leader, expect trouble. Listen to these wise words:
II Cor.1:3-4 -- Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
One cannot minister effectively if he or she has never experienced major troubles. They are limited. However, what makes you an effective minister is not those troubles; it is leaning on God’s mercies & comforts during those troubles. So don’t always try to ignore troubles and opposition in ministry. If anything, welcome them. Paul sure did:
I Corinthians 16:9 – For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
Anytime a great and effectual door is opened by God, there will be many adversaries. So does that mean we turn the other way? That God’s not in it? No. If anything, it should cause us to STAY. It’s funny how when the adversaries come we tend to say it’s NOT of the Lord. For example, when a door is opened up for an incredible ministry opportunity, but there seems to be one major obstacle (often money) we shut down. “Well, the money’s not there…..so God must not be in it.” How sad for the Church to “suppose that gain is godliness.”
Opposition comes in many forms for God’s leader, but if I were to narrow down the top three to be aware of they would be pride, envy, and uncleanness. I’ve seen it too many times in real life. Not only that, but the Bible warns the man of God regarding these three areas, especially in the pastoral epistles. Leaders, be aware of this opposition. And more importantly, learn to overcome them! Use the spiritual weapons the Lord has provided you with.
Want to get God’s attention? Want to be his “right hand man?” Be needy. Be broken. Fear Him.
You can be a servant without being a leader, but you can’t be a leader without being a servant. That’s what I love about the apostle Paul. He had many titles: apostle, church planter, leader, teacher. But of all of them, there was one he liked the most: SERVANT.
Romans 1:1 -- Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Titus 1:1 -- Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
It’s very important to understand that being a servant begins with an attitude of humility. You can serve all the time, but if your attitude stinks, God is not pleased. All throughout scripture, we see that there’s only one kind of heart captures God’s attention:
Isaiah 66:2 -- For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
Want to get God’s attention? Want to be his “right hand man?” Be needy. Be broken. Fear Him. You can’t fail on the side of humility. It’s the humble leaders who remain safe during the guaranteed, heavy storms of life—heavy wind damages the tall trees, rather than the low ones. This was the key to Paul’s endurance through many storms of life – an attitude of humility. He referred to himself as “less than the least of all saints.”
Having the heart of a servant also requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is what separates the men from the boys, so to speak. A leader who refuses to sacrifice is no true leader. Listen to Paul’s words to the church of Thessalonica:
I Thessalonians 2:9 – For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
Leaders are the hardest workers. They are the largest givers. They put others first, and they refuse to settle for mediocrity. Let’s keep the bar high here!