The Value of Faithful Leadership|
Leadership is a quality whose value can not be overestimated. Those who have it are blessed with a great gift which should be used faithfully in the service of God. It must not be abused, for it is one of the most powerful tools available to man. Almost everything rises or falls because of someone's leadership.
The power of leadership for both good and evil can be seen in both testaments of the Bible by considering some of the leaders in Israel's history. There was Moses, who led the nation out of Egyptian bondage; Joshua, who led them in the conquest of Canaan; King Ahab, who led them in the idolatry of Baal worship; and the Pharisees, who led them in hypocrisy. Throughout history, leaders have generally determined the condition of their people, and the same is true today.
Those who hold positions of authority in any situation are endowed with leadership simply by the definition of their positions. Therefore, those who hold such positions must be careful how they use them. Unfortunately, not all people who hold authoritative positions have the qualifications of a leader. Certainly, this is the reason why the qualifications of elders are so very important, for these are the men who will lead God's people in the church (1Tim. 3:1-7).
However, do not be mistaken by thinking that all leadership must come from some position of authority. Leadership is simply influence, and we all have some degree of influence upon others. Everyone has heard that we lead by example, but most of us do not think that this applies to ourselves. We think, "no one is following me. How can I lead anybody?" Paul told Timothy, "in speech, conduct, faith, love, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (1Tim. 4:12). It has been determined that 89 percent of what people learn come from visual stimulation, 10 percent is from audible stimulation, and 1 percent is from the other senses. We may think that others do not notice our chaste behavior, but they do. They will also notice our unchaste behavior and use it as an excuse for their own. So, do not underestimate the impact of your own influence by your example.
The strength of a leader's influence is the faithful life that he lives. Without the example of a faithful life, any words of encouragement that a would-be leader may give to another are hollow and meaningless. When Joshua challenged Israel and said, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15), what influence could he have had if he did not serve the Lord? They followed him because of his faithful integrity, which is the quality of matching words and deeds, the most important quality of a leader.
Faithful leadership serves to save souls and preserve people. It gives someone who is weak a source of strength and encouragement. Therefore, its value cannot ever be truly measured, for it is priceless. It is something for which we should pray and for which we should thank God for giving to us.
Stacey E. Durham
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