A Leader’s job is meant to inspire and drive execution; it is not about driving people to exasperation and exhaustion. Proverbs 28:3 gives a great example of what a leader is not supposed to do: A rule who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. While this verse refers to a ruler, it applies to leadership as well. If we drive people to the point of oppression, there will be nothing left. We will not get results and we will lose people in the process. Leadership is about pulling people through tough circumstances, not pushing them into impossible expectations.
Today we begin the second letter from Paul to Timothy. The letter was written to give final instructions and encouragement to Timothy, the pastor of the church at Ephesus. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of Power, of love and of self-discipline. This is sound advice and gives three characteristics of effective Christian leadership: power, love, and self-discipline. These characteristics are available to us because of the Holy Spirit living in us. By following the Holy Spirit’s leading in us, we grow to display these characteristics more each day.
The miracle of Jesus turning water into wine is important for a couple of reasons. For starters, it is the first miracle Jesus performs in public. Second, and far more important, it shows Jesus’ authority and natural ability to lead. When Mary asked Jesus to help, she probably was not asking for a miracle. But she recognized Jesus as someone who could take charge and figure out a solution to the problem. The same goes for the servants who probably didn’t know Jesus, but recognized Him as someone who could be followed. It is no wonder the disciples so readily followed Jesus. His compassion, leadership, and trustworthiness must have been apparent to everyone around Him.
Today we read about Paul’s journey to Rome as a prisoner. The story is one of the most suspenseful and interesting in the book of Acts. The use of the pronoun “we” in the first verse of the chapter stood out to me. This indicates Luke, the author of Acts, accompanied Paul on this journey and had a firsthand account of the events described in this chapter. The main theme to me in this chapter was Paul’s leadership. Even though he was a prisoner, he was still a leader in many ways. For starters he was able to warn the centurion who was able to keep the sailors from escaping in the middle of the storm. He was also an encourager to the men on the boat and reassured each of them of their survival. Ultimately, Paul showed us that we can be leaders and influencers even if we are in a position of weakness. As a prisoner, Paul’s status was among the lowest on the ship, but he was still able to lead and influence the positive outcome for everyone on the ship. No matter what our circumstances may be, God can use us for His glory if we simply trust and obey Him in all we do.
Reading the description of what a king should be in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 reminds me of how any leader should be. They are not to be greater than all the rest with the goal of attaining extravagant perks. They are not to use the people for their own glory. They are not to work for the sake of self indulgence. Unfortunately, sometimes, leaders feel the actual job is a way to achieve the reward. Leadership is about servanthood, not about self gratification and indulgence. There is responsibility for everyone under you, not the other way around. If leaders, whether they lead a small team or an entire country like the United States, were to remember this they would be much more effective, respected, loved, and followed.