Have you ever thought about good leadership? I mean like a strong leader who not only inspires you but also helps you along the way. I remember Mr. Mange (Mon-gee) from when I worked at K-mart when I was in high school. He was the store manager and in his suit and tie that he wore, he would be kneeling down on the ground with me stocking shelves and inspiring me to keep working hard. When I think of leadership, I think of him.
When I think of bad leadership, I think of King Saul. King Saul is the first King of the nation of Israel (see 1 Samuel). And the people wanted a king like all the other nations. They had God leading them. They had God directing them. God raised up prophets and leaders but the people wanted a king. So Saul was anointed and chosen as king over Israel. He stood a foot taller than everyone else. He was strong and big. He looked like a king. He looked like a leader. But he was a dork and a coward and just plain mean at times.
What do I mean by that? Well, he hid a lot. And not in a good way. Saul was tapped to be king by the prophet Samuel. But Saul kept it a secret. When it came time to reveal the new king to all of Israel, Samuel brought out Saul’s family to present him to his new subjects. Where was Saul?
He was hiding in the luggage. He was hiding in the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22).
Saul seemed to carry around his own personal baggage too. He had his issues. And he held grudges. His biggest downfall was that he didn’t trust in God. Here he is, waiting to go to battle. And all he had to do was wait for the prophet Samuel to come and give the go ahead from God to go into battle. And what does Saul do? After waiting for a few days, getting hungry, having his soldiers complain, he went ahead and attacked. He didn’t lead he followed. The tail wagged the dog. And because of that, his kingship was taken from him and was to be given to another.
When I think about leadership, I think about Saul and what not to do. In leadership, we need to not let our personal baggage get in the way. In leadership, we need to make peace with what we can and cannot do. In leadership, we need to not let the tail wag the dog. We need to lead but lead well. And finally, we need to wait upon God’s leading and timing. That’s what so important in leadership.
That’s one of the many things I’ve learned over the last few years–not to let me personal baggage get the best of me. I’ve learned not to hide amongst the baggage but to stand instead in the light of Jesus.
Jesus was the greatest leader of them all. He was a lot like Mr. Mange. He walked with the disciples. He got dirty with the disciples. But he also taught them, inspired them, encouraged them and most of all walked with them. In short, he discipled them.
And as a leader, that is the biggest job of all. To disciple. To disciple means to teach. But more than that, to raise up leaders as you teach. Jesus raised up 11 leaders from that group (we don’t count Judas in that one for some good reasons). Jesus led with authority but he was also humble. Jesus had every reason to be upset–I mean, he was killed and betrayed and denied. Yet he didn’t let that baggage get in the way of his teaching Peter to lead once Jesus rose again.
To this day, I’m still inspired by Mr. Mange. To this day, I think about his strong leadership. But more importantly, I think about the bad leadership of King Saul and the amazing leadership of Jesus which inspires me to keep on leading like he did.
What leader has inspired you? How have you followed them in leadership? How can you lead like Jesus?