Authority to Lead

Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, just as everything the king did pleased all the people. – 2 Samuel 3:36

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After Joab (the commander of David’s army) murdered Abner (the commander of Saul’s army), King David mourned. It wasn’t the staged action of a hypocritical politician; David truly grieved the loss of a great leader. Abner may have been David’s enemy, but he was also a man of honor and such men were not easy to come by in the kingdom under Saul’s rule. David’s example of compassion, though not intended to influence the people, probably did as much to unite a divided Israel as anything else he could have possibly done.

We all want our leaders to be strong and principled. At the same time, when they exhibit God’s love and compassion (combined with true humility and authenticity), leaders will ultimately bring God greater glory and earn the respect and allegiance of those being led.

The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve. – John Stott

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