Grace Notes Archive
December 2019 (3)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

SO YOU WANT TO BE A LEADER?
by Philip Owen

            “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians” became a trite phrase because it fit so many situations.  Whether in business, the classroom, or some community effort, get as few as two people collaborating on an idea or a project, and there’s likely to be a power struggle.  Sadly, the same may often be said when believers attempt to collaborate.  On such occasions, the flesh of many is exposed.  What we must recognize is that there is a great difference between a boss and a leader.  A boss “bosses.”  Any multi-person project requires that someone tell others what to do, but there is a world of difference between bossing and leading.  A boss may have superior ideas, an effective plan, good implementation; and he may succeed in accomplishing the designated task.  But a leader is one who, by his godly character, sets an example that others willingly follow and imitate.  Though not a how-to manual on leadership, the fourth chapter of Nehemiah offers a vignette that illustrates genuine leadership.

            Nehemiah had been moved by God to leave his comfortable and powerful position as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and return to the war-ravaged home of his ancestors and build the wall that had been demolished during the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  When Nehemiah arrived, if he found the wall to be in complete shambles, he discovered his people to be even more so.  They were thoroughly demoralized by the threats of their enemies, “Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites” (Neh. 4:7).  Convinced that things were hopeless, the Jews lamented, “They will come up against us from every place where you may turn” (v. 12).  So Nehemiah flew into action (giving us an example of godly leadership). 

            1.  Remind others that God will not fail to accomplish His purpose.  “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke . . . :  ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses” (v. 14).  The people had looked at the difficult task; they had looked at their formidable enemy; and they had taken their eyes off God.  He had called them to a task that He would not abandon.  Though the task may be difficult and the opposition great, God will not fail to accomplish His will.  A leader directs the eyes, the mind, the heart, and the will of others to the Lord.

            2.  Encourage others to get to the task of doing God’s will.  “From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shield, the bows and the breastplates” (v. 16a).  Certainly, doing God’s will is seldom easy:  “Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon” (v. 17).  But God blesses determined faith.  Nehemiah explained how they should rally to the sound of the trumpet in order to fight together when attacked and assured them that “Our God will fight for us” (v. 20b).

            3.  Set a proper example.  Nehemiah instructed “each man with his servant” to “spend the night within Jerusalem” in order to efficiently build in the daylight and guard against surprise attacks at night (v. 22).  As both the “general” of the army and the “general contractor” on the project, Nehemiah might have been exempted from this exhausting double duty.  But he writes, “So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water” (v. 23).  Nehemiah eschewed comfort or privilege.  What he demanded of others, he himself did. His actions became the pattern for others to observe and imitate.

            Leaders lead by example.  They must exercise God-given authority, but they do so with humility, patience, and faith.  With their mouths they say, “Do as I say.”  And with their lives they say, “Do as I do.”  “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ,” Paul wrote (I Cor. 11:1).  A leader does not remove his clothes—he always has on the whole armor of God, patterning a Spirit-filled, Word-directed, prayer-empowered, selfless life.  Be a leader—in your home, at your work, in your community, and in your church. 

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page