What Should a Leader Want?

Now here is the king you’ve chosen, the one you requested. Look, this is the king the LORD has placed over you. – 1 Samuel 12:13

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When Saul became king of Israel, Samuel was … well let’s just say, a little “under-whelmed.” In effect, he told the people, “You wanted a king and now you’ve got one. I hope you like him. Have at it. Catch you later.”

In most political elections, a majority of the public chooses a candidate who most reflects their values … the candidate that reflects their preferred view of themselves at that time. For example, if they see themselves as strong (or they desire to appear strong) they will choose a strong candidate. If they wish to appear caring or diverse, they might choose a candidate who reflects this diversity. This would provide one explanation for the see-saw results in most general elections. Whatever the reasons for our voting directions, we should make no mistake … we choose our leaders and we must live with the consequences of our choice (as Israel did).

The Christ-follower, when given the opportunity to choose a political leader, should not consider what he or she wants, but rather should ask, “What does God want?” And, be assured, God will want a leader who wants Him.

Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. – Winston Churchill

Numbers

Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will help us. Nothing can keep the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” – 1 Samuel 14:6

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Do you find security in numbers?

Jonathan thought that numbers were irrelevant when it came to the activities and works of God. He was so convinced of this “irrelevance” that he and his armor-bearer attacked an entire company of Philistines by themselves. Jonathan knew that God could save. He might not always do it, but He could. The ability to gain the victory was not, as we say, dependent upon the “size of the dog in the fight,” but rather the victory depended upon … who, in fact, OWNS the dog … and God definitely “owned” Jonathan. You see, even the “size of the fight in the dog” is irrelevant if you are not fighting on the right side!

Please, do not misunderstand, I do think some numbers are important. It’s just that I’m not sure why WE should be counting. Are we trying to impress God? If He can keep up with hair follicles, I’m not sure He needs any help keeping count. The only number that truly matters to Him is … one.

There is one God and one Savior and He alone deserves our praise. Let’s do our best to be sure He gets it every single moment of every day!

A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. – Plato

Three Questions

“What have I done now?” protested David. “It was just a question.” – 1 Samuel 17:29

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Are you the person in the room (or the meeting) who always seems to ask the “uncomfortable” question?

When David, the shepherd-boy, heard Goliath (the Philistine) mocking God, he asked the Israelite soldiers why they had not taken action to shut giant’s mouth. David’s brother took offense at David’s question and accused him of arrogance and impure motives. The fact was that David’s brother and many of the other soldiers were cowards and David’s innocent question had brought that cowardice to light. Eliab’s anger and reaction to David was a weak attempt to deflect his own shame.

There are three questions that will often shatter the security of the complacent. They are: “Why?”  “Why not?” and, “So what?” When the primary objective is to maintain the “status quo” of an organization or methodology these questions will inevitably invite the animosity and anger of those whose identity is most wrapped up in its preservation. It may involve their career or perhaps their reputation, but they will fight when they are provoked. These questions often trouble leaders into reevaluating the purpose of their organization and even its very existence. This, for many, is a frightening prospect, so what should you do?

KEEP ASKING … and pack your bags! Change usually comes no other way … and the “giants” must die.

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? – Scott Adams

Piece By Piece

LORD, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. – Psalm 144:3-4

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I am nobody without Christ and I must confess that I don’t always like it. You see, I am also a man and men (typically) like recognition. Our egos are often fragile and when the recognition goes lacking or missing we begin to doubt our purpose and existence. We crave significance.

How can we possibly win the victory over this “craving?”

Well King David did … nothing. He simply “yielded” as God did everything that was necessary. Little-by-little, over the course of his life, God took small pieces of David until he just disappeared. By the end of his life on earth, David no longer existed, God completely took over, and was magnified and glorified through the king’s life.

Until you are willing to become a nobody, God’s presence in your life will be hidden. At the same time, if you yield … truly yield … He will take your life from you piece by piece (Himself filling the void) until He is all in all and your true unique gifts are spotlighted for His praise.

Ego is to the true self what a flashlight is to a spotlight. – John Bradshaw

The End of Your Means

Saul then removed his clothes and also prophesied before Samuel; he collapsed [and lay] naked all that day and all that night. That is why they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” – 1 Samuel 19:24

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Are you familiar with the axiom, “the end justifies the means”?

King Saul wanted to kill David and so he sent his troops to find him. Each soldier that Saul sent found Samuel instead and was, as a result, left in a trance. When no one returned to Saul with the news of David’s location, the king eventually went on the search himself, but ended up naked, in a stupor, and on his face before the prophet of God.

As with Saul, most often the problem with our “means” is that they eventually have an “end” … and that end is not usually a good one! Our means or “ways” often have the negative result of leaving us naked, stupefied, and unproductive before the world … as well as ashamed before our Lord. Only God’s ways can be followed to a positive conclusion for His end is not “stupefaction,” but wisdom, clarity of purpose, and peace.

Examine your path and ask yourself, “What will be the ultimate end of my means?” You just might be going the wrong way!

All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions. – Reinhold Niebuhr

Life-Song

I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your faithful love is as high as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. – Psalm 57:9-10

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Do you have a “life-song?”

I think King David had a lot of songs in his heart, but the verses above seem to bring them all together. They express His understanding of God’s faithful love and the need for that love to be expressed before all peoples (nations, tribes, and languages).

I like it. It expresses the aim of my life and, frankly, the aim of all true missionaries. In fact, if this is your “life-song,” then you are a missionary, too. You see, missionaries love God, love His truth, do not let cultural differences hinder them, and possess a compulsive desire to share Christ with every people group on earth. I have been a missionary a long time … and some of that time was even spent overseas.

Do missionaries live overseas? Of course they do, but they live here, as well (wherever “here” is for you). Are you a missionary? It just depends on your “life-song.”

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music. – Ronald Reagan

The True Battle

Saul went along one side of the mountain and David and his men went along the other side. Even though David was hurrying to get away from Saul, Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them. Then a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, because the Philistines have raided the land!” – 1 Samuel 23:26-27

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Is it just me or does it seem like the Church spends more time fighting itself than battling God’s true enemy?

Toward the end of his earthy life, King Saul pursued David day and night. At the same time that Saul was engaged with this pursuit, the Philistines were continuously attacking Israel. It seems that Saul, threatened by David’s popularity and fearing for his crown, became obsessed to the point of ineffectiveness in his true mission of protecting his people.

Are we any different? Do we fear losing our flock, our ministry, our funds, or our influence? Are we so obsessed with the “losing” that we we can no longer find a path to gain? If we continue to focus on maintaining the fortress, will we soon find it empty?

We know the enemy and we need to be sure that it is not us. For the cause of Christ to advance, we need to find the common ground (indisputable biblical truth … the Gospel) and begin to fight the deceit and error of the enemy’s destructive philosophy. If we do not collectively begin to face forward, we will certainly continue to fall back.

One may know how to gain a victory, and know not how to use it. – Pedro Calderon de la Barca