Leaders, especially spiritual leaders , are very highly scrutinized and often criticized if they ‘don’t have it all together’. We can find ourselves expecting them to be near perfect. But, when we read our bibles, we find that many of God’s most anointed…those whom He gave great responsibility were lacking in many areas.
Moses and the Apostle Paul weren’t the greatest speakers.
Exodus 4:10 (NKJV)
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
2 Corinthians 11:6 (NKJV)
6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.
Eli the anointed High Priest and Judge had corrupt, disobedient sons (1 Samuel 3).
1 Samuel 3:13 (NKJV)
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.
Peter was quick to speak before he thought, and was even rebuked by Paul for being a hypocrite to the point that it influenced other leaders.
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
Just because one is anointed by God doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need any help. Every great leader needs a strong support system. They need to be surrounded by gifted, anointed people they can trust to delegate responsibility and help with their weaknesses. I think that’s God’s system of checks and balances.
We sometimes see charismatic, polished and sometimes affluent leaders and assume they have ‘it all together’ and that we could never qualify for leadership in God’s Kingdom because of our personal issues and weaknesses.
It’s easy to confuse charisma for anointing or confidence. Many great leaders are soft-spoken and reserved. There are many of charismatic leaders who can motivate a crowd but have absolutely no vision. There are others who have the WRONG vision and can motivate millions to do the wrong thing. Never confuse charisma with anointing. Check out this post for more on that… 4 WAYS TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREACHING & A PERFORMANCE….
The ability to manage money can either be a gift or an acquired discipline. For those of whom that it doesn’t come so naturally, they can struggle with the discipline, detail and organization it takes to be a great money manager. Remember how one of the devoted prophets in the Old Testament died in poverty leaving his sons to be sold into slavery…
2 Kings 4:1 (NIV)
4 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.
Here again some people are more naturally inclined to be organized. They pay great attention to detail. They are uneasy when things aren’t in place. They even organize things in their minds as they observe them, while others struggle to be organized. They make a sincere effort, but slowly find themselves slipping into their old habits. Notice how the rich nobleman in Luke 16:1-13 had a shrewd manager hired to manage his affairs.
Yes, I know what the bible says…
1 Timothy 3:4-5 (NKJV)
4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)
…and this is not a contradiction. I had a friend tell me that his dad, a very sincere, devout man of God resigned as a deacon because his son, (my friends brother) was addicted to drugs and in and out of jail. Well, the devil found out how to move a great leader out of the way. We are all God’s children and we don’t always behave as He commands us, does that mean that He’s not a good Father? Does that mean that God is not a good leader? No! God set’s the standard of behavior and doesn’t waver. He tells us, “NO!” to certain things. It’s up to us to love and respect Him enough to obey. That’s what God expects us to do…set the rules and boundaries in the home. To say, “No!” and don’t waver. As mentioned earlier, Eli, a great man of God, didn’t restrain his sons in 1 Samuel Chapters 2 and 3. But, he was still highly respected and used by God.
Any stromg leader will tell you that leadership itself is a challenge to marriage. Responsibilities sometimes force the leader to choose between his or her spouse and duties. Leadership cuts into quality time, occupies the leaders mind during personal time, and even sometimes affects the desire for intimacy. It was obvious that ministry took some apostles a way from their wives, which is sure to put a strain on marriage…
1 Corinthians 9:5 (NKJV)
Of course God expects leaders to honor their commitments and responsibilities…
Psalm 37:21 (NKJV)
21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
But, when responsibilities aren’t met, it not always due to intentional carelessness. It’s not necessarily because of over extending, but sometimes life happens. Sometimes illness, job loss, an unwanted divorce and other things beyond the leaders control can happen damaging his or her credit.
Jesus Himself was troubled in the garden the night before He went to the cross.
John 12:27 (NKJV)
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Sometimes we don’t expect our leaders to be visibly troubled by circumstances. But, that only shows their humanity. If Jesus Himself was troubled, the greatest leader of them all, then surely we will be too.
These are only a few of the reasons is why good leaders should be honest with themselves and aware of their natural weaknesses, so they can surround themselves with the right support to carry out their vision. They must also be confident enough in themselves to not be threatened by their support, but have the discernment to know who may actually be a threat to their leadership.
And, those whom they lead must be humble enough to follow in spite of their weaknesses, offering help towards the vision where possible. They must also realize that some weaknesses don’t disqualify the leader from leading. For example, the prophet Nathan didn’t tell David that he wasn’t qualified to be king after murder and adultery. (1 Samuel 12)
Leaders are only human, and they will all have lapses in character, but overall they must be…
Calm in Crisis…
One who unites rather than divides…
One who resolves conflict…
And, most of all led by God and a student of His word.
Remember, God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. All good leaders need good help.