Monday, May 25, 2009

Following, listening, leading...

You might be a leader if:
You are visionary.
You are motivated.
You can motivate.
You are determined.
You are tenacious.
You are wise.
You are trustworthy.
You can communicate convincingly with integrity.
You are honest.
You are dependable.
You are undaunted.

You know when to follow.

Today's passages are difficult. 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21-22 and Psalm 30 are scriptures that include the account of David's decision to take a census, something that clearly defied God's stated principle of Exodus 30--the one that explained God's ownership of his people and prohibited men from counting what does not belong to them unless instructed to do so by God.

In these verses, Joab, one of David's men, tactfully questioned David's decision and even hinted that his motivation might be pride, but David did not listen to Joab. Nor would he listen to the Captains of his Armies as they warned him against taking the census.

David's men followed their leader's instructions despite their concerns, and the process took almost ten months. When it was finally complete, David's heart condemned him--suddenly, he recognized the seriousness of the choice he'd made. He confessed his sin to God and learned that in spite of God's willingness to forgive him, there would still be grave consequences to pay for his actions. I'm sure that when David ordered the census, he never dreamed it would cause the loss of 70,000 lives.

Scripture is clear, David was an amazing and gifted leader. Many of the wonderful qualities required of great leaders were exhibited in his life, and we know that he was a man after God's own heart--so what went wrong in these chapters?

David fell prey to the peril of pride and when given the opportunity to avoid the pitfalls that accompanied the sin, he arrogantly pressed on with his plan.

My prayer for you my sweet ones is that if you are ever in a position of leadership you remember this very important lesson from scripture. No leader is infallible. No leader is guaranteed a perfect record. No leader is always right all of the time.

If God allows you to lead, He will also surround you with people who have strengths that you don't possess in order to help you see your blind spots. It's at those times that you will be wise to listen--and then become--the follower.

God never leads us to do anything that contradicts His Word and He will never fail to provide a way of escape when we are tempted by our flesh, whether by pride, egotism, lust, greed, or any other weakness, to make the wrong choice.

A great leader doesn't just lead, she also knows when to follow.

David was forgiven for his sin, but his refusal to follow the advice of his trusted companions resulted in tragedy.

Heavenly Father, help us be willing to listen and follow as we learn to lead by following the only perfect example--our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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