WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 23, 2021
TOPIC: PROVIDE EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
BY T. O. BANSO
“If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously” (Romans 12:8b New Living Translation).
The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines leadership as “the state or position of being a leader”, “the ability to be a leader or the qualities a good leader should”, and “ a group of leaders of a particular organization, etc”
Leadership is needed to mobilize human and other resources to achieve organizational goals. Leadership is needed to make things work well. It is needed to make progress. Where there is no leadership, nobody gives direction and things break down.
By providing leadership or effective leadership, I mean accepting the responsibility to harness the abilities, talents, and skills of people and mobilize other resources to achieve desired goals. Some leaders don’t lead, in the actual sense of leadership. They are nominal or titular leaders – leaders by name alone. If you are a leader, you should lead; you should perform the responsibilities expected of you.
If you occupy a leadership position but fail to provide effective leadership, nothing may get done and things may break down under your watch. In the alternative, someone else who has no title can come up and provide leadership. This can sometimes cause some problems. Nominal leaders could become intolerant of the person who provides leadership or become hostile to him.
If you’re the head of an organization, a departmental/sectional head, or whatever level of leadership you are, don’t fail to provide leadership. Don’t fail your followers in setting goals, communicating with them, directing, guiding, and motivating them, harnessing their strengths and abilities, and doing whatever is legitimately needed to achieve the goals set for them. Romans 12:8b says, “If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously” (New Living Translation). You don’t have to have an official title to be a leader or provide leadership.
In the battle in which Goliath died, King Saul of Israel failed to provide leadership. For 40 days, Goliath challenged the Israelites to choose a man to fight with him and if he killed him, the Philistines would be their servants. On the other hand, if he prevailed against him and killed him, the Israelites would be their servants. Saul didn’t take up the challenge and neither did any Israelites until David arrived on the battlefield (1 Samuel 17:9). “And the Philistine said, ‘I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.’ When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (verse 10 New King James Version).
However, the narrative changed when David arrived on the battlefield. He wasn’t afraid of Goliath. He wouldn’t see Goliath defy Israel and do nothing. He told Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:32). This is the way a leader should talk. But Saul would not talk like that because he failed to provide leadership.
When David made himself available to lead, Saul tried to discourage him. “And Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth’” (verse 33 New King James Version). But Saul was too late because David had resolved to provide leadership since the titular leader had failed.
Leadership is not just sitting down in a cosy office, receiving honour from your subordinates while things are in a downward spiral without the supposed leader doing anything or enough to arrest it. Leadership is not surrendering to the winds blowing against the boat of an organization. Leadership is not lamenting over the challenges and expressing hopelessness. Leadership instils hope in the followers and motivates and mobilizes them to overcome challenges whether in the family, the church, the society, or the nation. Leadership is not just answering the title President and Commander-in-Chief or CEO.
David replied Saul, “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.’ Moreover David said, ‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Samuel 17:34-37a New King James Version).
Did you see the difference between a true leader and a supposed leader? Saul who had failed to provide leadership replied to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!” (Verse 37b). Could you believe that? I consider that a hypocritical prayer. He only said that because David had said the LORD would deliver him from the hand of this Philistine. If Saul believed so much in God to give victory over Goliath, why did he not believe that the LORD would be with him and go to face Goliath? Or was it only David that God could be with to defeat Goliath?
Saul amuses one further when he offered David his armour to wear to go and face Goliath. If it was about armour, why didn’t he wear it? The armour belonged to him. It was exactly his size! He should have worn it to go and face Goliath long before David came. When David fastened his sword to the armour and tried to walk, he told him that he could not walk with them because he had not tested them. David took them off. Without Saul’s armour, David eventually killed Goliath. He was a true leader; Saul was a supposed leader.
Another instance when Saul failed to provide leadership is seen in 1 Samuel 14. The Philistines would not allow any blacksmith in Israel and there was nobody in Israel who had a sword or spear, except for Saul and Jonathan (1 Samuel 13: 22). Amid this military disadvantage, there is no record of what Saul did to deal with the situation. Problem-solving is part of leadership. Saul was supposed to be the leader but he and his 600 men just sat in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron (1 Samuel 14:2).
However, the leader in Jonathan arose and together with his armour bearer ventured into the camp of the Philistines without telling Saul. He told his armour bearer, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6 New King James Version).
They went and killed twenty of them, causing a panic in the army (verses 8-14). It was only thereafter that Saul and his men rushed to the battle and found the Philistines killing each other (verse 20). The LORD saved Israel that day.
But Saul’s foolish oath that day hindered Israel from having total victory. He had said, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies” (1 Samuel 14:24b New King James Version). Therefore, none of the people tasted food.
Instead of engaging his enemy, Saul was engaging in misplaced spirituality, proclaiming a fast on the day of battle, an oath which Jonathan unaware of broke by tasting a little honey and he wanted to kill him. Saul’s men overruled him. He demonstrated bad leadership by being insensitive to the welfare of his soldiers (verses 24-46).
Also in 1 Samuel 15, Saul failed to provide effective leadership to carry out God’s command to him to completely destroy the Amalekites. Saul and his men spared King Agag and the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs, and all that was good but destroyed only everything despised and worthless (verse 9). Saul promoted sacrifice above obedience to God (verses 22). Because of this, the kingdom was torn from him and given to someone else better than him (verse 28).
Saul’s excuse that his troops spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the LORD (1 Samuel 15:15) was untenable because it was contrary to the command of God to him personally. If his troops could disobey God’s command given to him, it showed he lacked leadership.
An effective leader will not allow his subordinates or followers to do whatever they like, especially violating God’s Word or His specific instructions. Ultimately, the leader is accountable for the people under him. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17 New King James Version).
It wasn’t that Saul didn’t lead the Israelites to war at all. The Bible records that he had some military successes.1 Samuel 14:47-48 says, “So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he harassed them. And he gathered an army and attacked the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them” (New King James Version). But a leader must continue to provide leadership. He cannot afford to be complacent. Success at one time will not compensate for failure another time.
Provide leadership. Don’t let things break down under your watch as a parent, President of a country, political leader, CEO, and whatever you are. The centurion told Jesus, “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:9 New King James Version). This is leadership.
Accept responsibility. Lead. Don’t make excuses. Serve. Leadership is service, not a title. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26 New Living Translation). Leadership is not tyranny. It is not lording it over people. It is motivating people. Lead with the fear of God. Lead as one who will give account to the authorities you’re accountable to and, more importantly, to God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Things will not break down under my watch in Jesus’ name. I shall provide effective leadership. I shall accept responsibility and not make excuses. I shall not be a nominal leader. Even without a title, I shall lead. I shall lead in the fear of God and as one who will give account to man and, more importantly, to God. Holy Spirit, help me not to fail in my leadership responsibilities.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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