Ever considered what it takes to be a good leader? Ever consider what it would take to become a great leader? Are there techniques? Are there tools? Are there strategies? Are there characteristics? Are there behaviors? Are there mentors we can learn from? What type of leader do you want to be? What type of leader are you modeling your life after? How large an impact do you desire to make? How long do you want your legacy to last? What type of leader will you be?
How will you live? What will your characteristics be? What perspective will you bring?
Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017 Devotional, Psalm 18:1-6, Matthew 21:1-17, Job 19, Job 20, Job 21
Ever considered some role models to help you with your leadership style? Ever considered people from the Bible who seem to have good characteristics to imitate? What about Jesus? Ever heard people say “WWJD – What Would Jesus Do”? Ever started to look into what leading like Jesus would mean or look like?
1. A leader’s worship … Psalm 18:1-6
1I love you, Lord, my strength. 2The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,and I have been saved from my enemies. 4The cords of death entangled me;the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5The cords of the grave coiled around me;the snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called to the Lord;I cried to my God for help.From his temple he heard my voice;my cry came before him, into his ears.
–from Psalm 18
When we consider how much of the book of Psalms is from David and his worship of God, it seems to point to the importance of a leader to worship. David worshiped God when he was at the highest of highs! David worshiped God when we he was at the lowest of lows! David as a leader was dependent upon God! He was king of the nation but he didn’t lean on that power and authority, he leaned on God! So to imitate David, we need to bathe our leadership in worship and prayer! We need to build an intimate relationship with God all the days of our lives! Do you love God? It’s hard to worship something or someone you don’t love! It’s hard to worship something or someone you don’t know! So we need to draw close to God and build a relationship with Him! We need to spend time with Him! We need to talk with Him! We need to walk with Him! We need to worship Him!
Do you realize how much you have to be thankful for? Do you remember all that God has done in and through you? If not, why not find a way of logging the asks and the answers?
2. A leader’s characteristics … Matthew 21:1-17
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5“Say to Daughter Zion,‘See, your king comes to you,gentle and riding on a donkey,and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” 6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,“Hosanna to the Son of David!”“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13“It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” 14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “ ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’ ?” 17And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
–from Matthew 21
Jesus turned the paradigm of how to lead on its head. It’s now about the people at the top demanding to be served, it is about the leaders serving!
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” –from Mark 10
If you want to be great, you need to serve! If you want to be first, you need to serve!
Today’s devotional puts it simply as lead from who you are more than from your position!
Who you are is far more important than what you do or what you have, in terms of possessions or position. Jesus’ authority did not come from having a high position in some hierarchy. It came from who he was as a person. He had a natural authority. He had total confidence that all he needed to say was, ‘the Lord needs them’ (v.3). No threats or promises were required. –from Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017
So who are you? When people think of your name, what characteristics do they think of? Who do you say you are?
Today’s devotional also shares that we should live being gentle and unassuming!
‘Your king comes to you, gentle…’ (v.5). This is not a characteristic of leadership that the world expects. Yet it was right at the heart of Jesus’ leadership. The Greek word for ‘gentle’ means considerate, unassuming. It is the opposite of aggressive or self-seeking. –from Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017
So are you considerate to those around you? Are you walking in humility? Are you being selfless? Are you being gentle? What do your words speak to the people around you? What is in your heart for them?
Today’s devotional continues by warning us that we shouldn’t be arrogant, showy · pretentious · conspicuous · flamboyant · gaudy · brash · vulgar · loud · extravagant · fancy · ornate · overelaborate · flash · flashy · splashy · fancy-pants · over the top · glitzy · ritzy · superfly! Consider the humility Jesus came in to town with. He didn’t ride in on His big white horse demanding that we all serve or worship Him!
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. What a contrast to so many other leaders in history, secular and religious, who have traveled with pomp and ceremony and ostentatious entourages. Jesus’ mode of transport was a sign of great humility. It is the opposite of pride and arrogance, which can so easily creep into human leadership.
Will you stand up for others who can’t stand up for themselves? Will you have the courage to confront those who are mistreating or abusing others? Today’s devotional call out to the importance of having the courage to confront!
People sometimes think that gentleness and humility mean giving way in every situation, but Jesus was not afraid of confrontation. He ‘entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers’ (v.12). One of the hardest aspects of leadership is to know the right moment for confrontation. –from Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017
We aren’t to be soft or giving in to everything! Now we shouldn’t be going off on everyone all the time either! We need to ask God for wisdom to know the right day and the right time to be confrontational!
There will be conflicts! (“In this world you will have troubles” Jesus told us but He didn’t leave it there He also told us “take heart because I have overcome the world”) There will be confrontation (“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds” we don’t have to worry or fret when we face them, we can face them with pure joy trusting in God for we know that “the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” and that when we “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”) So as today’s devotional says we need wisdom and courage on how to use it!
Conflict and confrontation are a necessary part of good leadership. Failure to confront is in itself a decision with consequences. Confrontation is never easy, but, wisely applied, it is a necessary part of courageous leadership. –from Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017
Today’s devotional also points to how we need to be reaching for spiritual power! We need to seek wisdom from God! Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood and so our weapons and techniques shouldn’t be either! Worldly power won’t be enough!
The power of Jesus was so different from many of the leaders in the world. ‘The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them’ (v.14). Spiritual power is far more important than earthly power. It cannot be manufactured. It can only come from the kind of relationship Jesus had with God. –from Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017
So we need to do like Jesus did when He made time to go and talk with the Father! He took time to pray! He took time to get filled up so that in every situation and every circumstance He was prepared! So like today’s devotional says, we need to make prayer our number one priority!
In Jesus’ confrontation with the money-changers we see how passionate he was about prayer (v.13). Throughout the Gospels, we read of Jesus withdrawing (v.17) to be on his own with God. This was the source of his strength. Like with David, prayer was at the heart of Jesus’ leadership. –from Day 31: Bible In One Year 2017
3. A leader’s perspective … Job 19:1-21:34
What is your focus? What perspective are you looking upon the situation with? Can you see beyond the moment? Can you see what is yet to come? Will you put your trust in the future? Will you put your trust beyond the things of this world but see what God has yet to come? Will you trust beyond what is visible here and looks like people are getting away with things, knowing and trusting that vengeance is the Lords and that He will be the final judge? Can you see beyond the here and now? Can you see beyond the characters around you who are living out life against the will of God and trust that in the end God’s way will win out? Don’t be fooled or robbed by the words of the people around you, but rather put your hope and trust in God! Remember this life isn’t the end and that our decisions and actions on this world will come before God and we will need to give an account for the way we have chosen to live!
Consider Job’s words when he said:
25I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! –from Job 19
Today’s devotional closed out today’s devotional this way:
Job’s insight foreshadows the New Testament hope of resurrection and eternal life. A godly leader has an eternal perspective, which gives a totally different dimension to Christian leadership.
Imagine someone important coming to visit your home. You would probably do a number of things to get ready. You would get yourself ready. You would ensure others in the house were ready, and you would ensure that the house itself was ready, looking clean and tidy.
A Christian leader has an eternal perspective and hope that, ‘In the end [my redeemer] will stand upon the earth’ (v.25). Focus on getting yourself ready, getting others ready (evangelisation, discipleship and pastoral care) and getting the house ready (the revitalisation of the church and the transformation of society). These concerns are not just confined to church leaders. Christian leaders in all spheres of work and society should have these three underlying dimensions embedded in their thoughts, their decisions and their actions.
Furthermore, this perspective should transform your attitude towards your plans and goals. When situations do not work out as hoped, due to the injustice of individuals or organisations or systems, you can still trust in the fact that one day, total justice will prevail.
Today’s reading from Job…
1Then Job replied: 2“How long will you torment me and crush me with words? 3Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. 4If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. 5If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, 6then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. 7“Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. 8He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. 9He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head. 10He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. 11His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. 12His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent. 13“He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. 14My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. 15My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. 16I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth. 17My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. 18Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. 19All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me.
20I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. 21“Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. 22Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh? 23“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, 24that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! 25I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! 28“If you say, ‘How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him,’ 29you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.”
–from Job 19
1Then Zophar the Naamathite replied: 2“My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
because I am greatly disturbed. 3I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply. 4“Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since mankind was placed on the earth, 5that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment. 6Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds, 7he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ 8Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night. 9The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more. 10His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth. 11The youthful vigor that fills his bones will lie with him in the dust. 12“Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, 13though he cannot bear to let it go and lets it linger in his mouth, 14yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him. 15He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up. 16He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him. 17He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. 18What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading. 19For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build. 20“Surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure. 21Nothing is left for him to devour; his prosperity will not endure. 22In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; the full force of misery will come upon him. 23When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows on him. 24Though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him. 25He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him; 26total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent. 27The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. 28A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath. 29Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God.”
–from Job 20
1Then Job replied: 2“Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. 3Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on. 4“Is my complaint directed to a human being? Why should I not be impatient? 5Look at me and be appalled; clap your hand over your mouth. 6When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body. 7Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? 8They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. 9Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not on them. 10Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. 11They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. 12They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre; they make merry to the sound of the pipe. 13They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. 14Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. 15Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’ 16But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. 17“Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate God allots in his anger? 18How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale? 19It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’ Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it! 20Let their own eyes see their destruction; let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty. 21For what do they care about the families they leave behind when their allotted months come to an end? 22“Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest? 23One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, 24well nourished in body, bones rich with marrow. 25Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. 26Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both. 27“I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me. 28You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great, the tents where the wicked lived?’ 29Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts—30that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity, that they are delivered from the day of wrath? 31Who denounces their conduct to their face? Who repays them for what they have done? 32They are carried to the grave, and watch is kept over their tombs. 33The soil in the valley is sweet to them; everyone follows after them, and a countless throng goes before them. 34“So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”
–from Job 21