Leadership is a “Noble Task,” as we learn in I Timothy (3:2).
An effective leader, says Scripture, must sacrifice much that is good in the interests of what is best. But, before leading, we must first serve, Christ reminds us.
The Noble Task starts at home, says Paul. My grandmother agreed, saying that “Charity (or love) starts at home before it is spread abroad.”
Similarly, Paul asks, in I Timothy (3:5), “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s Church?”
Paul teaches us about Christian maturity, maintaining reputation so as not to disgrace the church, and avoiding the trap of pride.
In the Old Testament, we see teamwork executed in love. In Exodus (17:12), “Moses’ hands had to be raised for victory and when he grew tired, Aaron and Hur held them up.” No leader can be victorious alone, needing the support of others. Likewise, a dutiful leader shares with others the credit for success.
The Noble Task incorporates love and respect from others, and of oneself. Paul stresses the need for new believers to become secure and strong before assuming church leadership.
Christians, mature in their faith, recognize the damaging and seductive nature of pride. The immature are susceptible to the influence of conceited and unscrupulous people. Pride, the devil’s own downfall, is well used by him to ensnare others.
As a boy, Moses lived a prideful life of riches as the prince of Egypt. One day, in an act of mercy, Moses killed a fellow Egyptian who was acting brutally toward a slave, a Hebrew with whom Moses newly identified himself. God was developing Moses as a strong leader.
Moses learned of patience and sacrifice, too, during 40 years of hiding in the desert. It was not until Moses learned to be honest with himself and God, and had his will broken by God, that Moses was declared ready to lead.
Moses grew quiet when God appeared before him in the burning bush, eager to listen. The lesson herein: We must be ready to pay attention in the desert of our lives. God tames us for the Noble Task by first stripping us of pride and self reliance.
We don’t have to be born a leader to become one. Scripture teaches that a leader needs a heart for God, and a teachable spirit. Most great leaders in Scripture were developed over time and through their hunger for God.
A desire for God in our lives comes at different times. Some, as children, feel the need to know and be alone with God. Others find God as a result of personal tragedy.
Others seek not God, but the attention that leadership brings.
Many are not conditioned for the Noble Task, never having been schooled by God. Many are yet to find themselves in the desert, ready to receive God’s attention. To accomplish the Noble Task, there must be an evolvement, achieved through an aloneness with and hunger for God’s presence.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.