More has been written about the subject of leadership than perhaps any other subject in history. Leadership is very widely and frequently discoursed due to its increased value and relevance to this age. Leadership is needed in its purest form to navigate the many complications that linger in the world today; from conflicts between nations on a macro level and disintegrating families on a micro scale. Due to its breadth, there is much to write on the issue of leadership yet I have chosen a small element which I consider a mystery to share with you in this post.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:1-2 (NKJV)
Among the diverse ways in which God exercises control over the earth, one of them is the appointment of leaders. It is explicitly stated in the text above that all leaders derive their authority from God. More pointedly, all leaders are appointed by God and beyond that, God recognizes leadership and works with the leader on matters relating to his jurisdiction.
I find it bizarre that even ungodly kings were recognized by God. This is the mystery of leadership wherein a leader that does not know or serve God would be recognized and enabled by God to lead effectively. Leaders serve as a covering for the people. They have custody and overall responsibility for the condition of their charges; therefore God works with the leader in certain ways for the sake of his followers.
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: – Genesis 41:25 (NKJV)
A classic example is in the story of Pharaoh the king of Egypt. He did not know God, yet God would reveal to him in a dream what would befall his kingdom. God showed him that famine was coming and precautions had to be taken. All the wise men and eggheads in his administration could not foresee this crisis. His panel of highly learned advisers and brainiacs were clueless regarding this, yet God revealed it to the irreligious king.
Similarly, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon in Daniel 2 had dreams which revealed to him things to come concerning his kingdom. These could only be known by God and God chose to share this piece of intelligence with a heathen king.
Every one has a leader and most of us are leaders as well in our own right. The duty then is two-fold. What should your attitude be towards leaders? What should be my attitude as a leader?
Paul explains in Romans 13:1 that those who rebel against authority rebel against God. Though we might not agree with everything a leader does, we are expected to act appropriately towards them. First, a leader should be honored and respected for the position he occupies and for the very least, the honor of God who is the source of all authority. The next requirement is to pray for our leaders. We are required to do these two basic things.
In the Western world where the place of honor for elders and those in authority is lost, and there is an endemic obsession with equality and human rights, the concept of honor and respect is a tough one. Children refuse to honor parents and people snub leaders. This is wrong and needs to be corrected. Respect for elders and leaders is a biblical ordinance. It is even worse when the leader is operating in a spiritual capacity such as a Pastor. It is very important to realize that there is a spiritual principle in place that sustains leadership, hence why God never lets those who dishonor spiritual leaders go free. Ask Miriam and Aaron.
To the leaders, our responsibility is to be in tune with the people and with God. An extension from the responsibility of the people is the holy reverence with which one approaches his responsibility. If your followers submit to your leadership as being from God and pray for you as commanded, you owe it them to truly be connected to God and lead with a sense of duty. It is also worth mentioning that all leaders must also be faithful followers.
Once you are appointed a leader, whether formally or informally, there is a grace that comes with the office and appointment. It is not earned; it simply is. If a half-wit occupied the office, he would have the same grace. It cannot be explained hence why I call it a mystery. There are certain endowments that come with being placed into any leadership office. Other personal gifts and abilities which have been developed over the years differ from person to person but some fundamentals come with the office. Much like a job offer comes with certain fringe benefits irrespective of the personality occupying.
One of those graces or endowments is a leader’s intuition or foresight. Every true leader placed by God possesses this to varying degrees. The ability to see things before they become apparent to your charges is a grace of leadership. Every leader must respond appropriately to this God given intuition. The right response is to pay attention to it and sharpen it by reason of use. Pharaoh being empowered by God could see into the future and Nebuchadnezzar could as well. Any true leader, whether saved or unsaved must possess a keen intuition and an ability to discern trends yet unseen to the common man.
The mystery of leadership is in God’s appointment, recognition, relationship with and endowment of leaders, godly and ungodly alike. A leader being a representative of God must appreciate this mystery and leverage it for effectiveness in his revered duty. Shalom.