What do you think of when you hear the word leader? How about the word leadership? What about if you heard leadership skills?
Are they aligned? Are your expectations realistic? Are leaders able to live up to your definitions or expectations?
How about if we look at Psalm 78:72 and consider if these would be good skills…
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Is integrity near the top of your list? What about being skillful?
What about spending time with the people and building real relationships with them?
What other skills would you think of or want in a leader? Let’s check out today’s reading and devotional for some skills great leaders need to have!
Seven Characteristics of All Great Leaders — Day 182: Bible In One Year 2017
Devotional, Psalm 78:56-72, Acts 21:1-26, 2 Kings 3, 2 Kings 4:1-37
- Integrity and skill … Psalm 78:56-72
Integrity of heart
‘Integrity’ is the opposite of ‘hypocrisy’. The word integrity comes from the Latin integer meaning ‘whole’. It describes an undivided life, a ‘wholeness’ that comes from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. It means acting according to the values, beliefs and principles we claim to hold.The pastoral care of God’s people must be done with integrity of heart. This is the most important characteristic. People said of Jesus, ‘we know you are a man of integrity’ (Mark 12:14). Many leaders have reflected on the importance of integrity in their role:Former US President Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Western Europe during World War II said, ‘The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is… on a football field, in an army, or in an office.’
David was a skilful shepherd. He had learnt to protect the flock with his sling. He went on to lead the people of Israel with great skill. There are leadership skills to be learnt.We learn these skills through watching and following good examples, listening to the wisdom of others, asking questions of those we admire, learning together with our peers and, above all, through practice.
- Love, service and sensitivity … Acts 21:1-26
If you love people you will get close enough to them so that, in the words of Pope Francis, you smell of the sheep. Paul was an example of a good shepherd. Everywhere he went he met up with the disciples (21:4,7). He prayed with them (v.5), he loved them so much that when it was time to leave he had to tear himself away from them (v.1).In his love for them Paul had warned about savage wolves (20:29). Yet Paul also loves them through encouraging them and building up their faith. He ‘reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry’ (21:19).
The prophet Agabus warned Paul of what awaited him in Jerusalem. They pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus’ (v.13).Jesus set the model of servant leadership (see for example Mark 10:45). Paul was willing to follow Jesus, ‘The good shepherd [who] lays down his life for the sheep’ (John 10:11). As Oswald Sanders wrote, ‘True leadership is achieved not by reducing people to one’s service, but in giving oneself in selfless service to them.’
We often think of Paul’s pioneering drive and bold approach; however, he also showed sensitivity to the culture of Jerusalem. He purified himself and his companions, in accordance with the ceremonial laws, in order that nothing would distract from what God was doing (Acts 21:24–26).
- Compassion and prayer … 2 Kings 3:1-4:37