I’m awake tonight here at 3:20 am. God woke me up. Actually I felt my wife’s hand rubbing my arm and my little Sarah, my Papillon, was being a bit fussy tonight. Whatever the case I lay there thinking about something I read on my Facebook newsfeed.
A friend posted a short piece by Thom S. Rainer. He is an American writer, researcher, speaker, and current president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
What he has to say is true, but he gives all the earmarks of what a bad leader is. We all have seen our share of leaders. Some of us have more years at watching leadership at different levels and different methods. But if I may, I’d like to use a different approach to how to recognize leaders.
I was once told the best way to recognize a counterfeit $100 bill is to study the real thing. When I researched the “how to’s” there are several things to look for. If they are not present, then when looking at another, the bill is fake. I prefer to study the real deal. Anything else will stand out like a sore thumb. Then it stands to reason there likely are so many variations contained in a fake bill that one would get bogged down in distinguishing one from the other.
My first look at true leadership is that of sacrifice, not privilege. Anyone who aspires to true leadership must know first that they are at the calling and bidding of God. Several didn’t want that yet God called them, then equipped them for the tasks. One of my first notable leaders tried to avoid it by coming up with excuses why he was inadequate. Moses told God he could not speak fluently. Why, I wondered. Here was a man who was brought up in the house of Pharoh. Educated in probably every way as an Egyptian. How did he find himself in leadership if he felt inadequate?
Some of the things I look for in leadership are:
Hebrews 13:7 – . . .(They) spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
A true leader will always consider their conduct in speech to you and you should do so as well. It’s called witnessing to the Spirit in both. If your spirit doesn’t feel right, it’s time to walk.
Hebrews 13:17 – . . . . they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
The leader will always have your best interested at heart. They do it because they have the responsibility to God that you present yourself accounted for by them. They will always direct your ways towards God.
Titus 2:7 – . . . in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
They are always giving the people examples of Biblical principle in deeds in the purity of doctrine. Their projection of Christ from their lives should be foremost in all things in order that those they lead can easily see God. Jesus did all things He saw the Father do and did it.
John 8:29 – And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Another study that I learned from a while back is that the Bible is truly about the redeeming work of Jesus, but His leadership was predicated on the fact that He was always pointing to the Father. His fulfillment of reconciliation finalized the ability for all mankind to do as He did. Without that we could not have that intimacy with the Father.
I Peter 5:3 – nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
With age comes wisdom. This principle was worked into me many years ago. As a husband I recognized for my wife to grow and flourish I must not lord over her, but give her direction and encouragement. Direction is instruction. Encouragement is only true when it coincides with freedom to practice the instruction. My wife has taken great strides in her spiritual growth over the last few years as I’ve done so and I’ve kept my spiritual hands to myself and let her grow for herself. It’s like a child who learned something new out on the playground and then runs back to show the parent their accomplishments. As I’ve watched my wife grow in God, I smile and her new-found abilities in freedom to learn. She’s now studying the Apprentice Course in church that will lead to ordination in three years.
If all of us want to know true leadership study the true leader. They will encourage you and send you out to work the Biblical principles they instill in you. They have no care for themselves. Their satisfaction is knowing they have propagated the Life of God in you as any good husbandman would tending a field. He can only plant and water. In doing so he can then watch as God brings forth the increase.