WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 3, 2020
TOPIC: YOU DON’T NEED A TITLE TO BE A LEADER
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then all Israel came together to David at Hebron, saying, ‘Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD your God said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over My people Israel’” (1 Chronicles 11:1-2 New Living Translation).
When I started writing this message, I was never aware there is a book by the same title. I had never read the book; I only saw the title after I have completed my writing. It was written by Mark Sanborn in 2006. I look forward to reading the book.
However, the inspiration for this message came from the life of David before he became a king. You don’t need a title to be a leader.
Unfortunately, many people are looking for titles before they can lead. The more unfortunate thing is that when they get such titles, which throw upon them responsibilities, they become ineffective. We have seen cases where the performance of some leaders in office shows that they only wanted the titles. The title is their greatest desire and achievement, not the performance of the duties of the office.
You don’t need a title to be a leader. If your title is what makes you a leader, you’re just a nominal or positional leader. The real leaders perform effectively whether they have titles or not. In fact, some of them are conferred with the titles because they have performed effectively without a title.
Don’t just aspire for a title; get on with serving where you are. Don’t compete with any title-holder; just go to do the work you can do. People know who the real leaders are. They can differentiate between the title holders and the go-getters.
The achievers have influence; they enjoy the goodwill of the people; they have regard for them. People listen to them. On the other hand, the ordinary title holders are just figureheads, tolerated by the people who sometimes cry to God to intervene and get rid of them. In this case, the people are powerless to withdraw the titles and give them to those who could provide effective and responsible leadership.
After the death of King Saul and David had reigned in Hebron over Judah for seven years and six months (2 Samuel 5:5), 1 Chronicles 11:1-2 says, “Then all Israel came together to David at Hebron, saying, ‘Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD your God said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over My people Israel’” (New Living Translation). Did you see that?
Saul was the king but the people said David, who wasn’t the king, was the person leading them to war. He was doing what the king should have done. It wasn’t really that Saul never led them to war. After he was publicly chosen as king, Saul raised an army to defeat the Ammonites who had besieged the city of Jabesh (1 Samuel 11).
Also, Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt (1 Samuel 15:7) Although, he utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword, he disobeyed God. He spared Agag, king of the Amalekites from death. He also took the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed. He did these contrary to the instructions of God.
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).
However, King Saul didn’t provide at all times the required leadership. David came to the national limelight when he helped Saul and, indeed, Israel to kill Goliath. Until David, who was not even enlisted in Israel’s army, took up Goliath’s challenge that one Israelite should come out to fight him to decide the winner of the war, Saul couldn’t do anything.
1 Samuel 17:10-11 says, “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” (new King James Version). Take note of that. Saul and his army were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Even when David took up the challenge, Saul tried to discourage him that he was a youth and Goliath had been a man of war from his youth (1 Samuel 17:33). When Saul failed to dissuade him, he gave David his own armour to wear but he refused to use it. If it was about the armour, why didn’t Saul wear it to face Goliath?
David had no title but he performed effectively. He killed Goliath, and the Israelites women acknowledged his feat and sang his praises. This eulogy by the women made Saul, an insecure leader, become envious of David, and until his death, kept seeking to kill him (1 Samuel 18:7-9).
However, while David was with him before he fled, Saul “made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them” (1 Samuel 18:13-16 New King James Version). The Israelites knew who their leader was, although, Saul was the king.
David did not only behave himself wisely; he behaved himself more wisely in the service of Saul as much as he continued to look for opportunities to kill him. “Then the princes of the Philistines went out to war. And so it was, whenever they went out, that David behaved more in wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed” (1 Samuel 18:30 New King James Version).
If you compare David’s performance with that of King Saul, you will see the difference. David had influence in the kingdom because he served, not just by holding a title. King Saul failed when he was supposed to provide leadership. He was often afraid of the Philistines.
In 1 Samuel 13, Saul went into the error of offering sacrifice inappropriately because of the fear of the Philistines instead of continuing to wait for Samuel, although he had delayed in coming (verses 7-14). 1 Samuel 14:52 says, “Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him for himself” (New King James Version).
Also, in 1 Samuel 13, Jonathan attacked and defeated the garrison of Philistines at Geba but Saul took credit for it. “And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, ‘Let the Hebrews hear!’ Now all Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel had also become an abomination to the Philistines. And the people were called together to Saul at Gilgal” (verses 3-4 New King James Version).
By extension, a victory by Saul’s son or any of Saul’s subjects was a victory by him. Therefore, Saul could be excused for claiming Jonathan’s victory. Nevertheless, it could also be a manifestation of character flaw. Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” There was probably no mention of the fact that Jonathan performed the feat. The impression given to the Israelites must have been that Saul defeated the Philistines; hence, all Israel said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines.
If they knew it was Jonathan, all Israel could have said so, just as the women sang in praises of David when he killed Goliath (1Samuel 18:6-7). Nevertheless, in another victory over the Philistines by the Israelites, Saul’s soldiers credited Jonathan with the victory (1 Samuel 14:45).
Saul would not lead from the front. In 1 Samuel 14, Saul couldn’t go to fight the Philistines. Instead, he sat in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree, which was in Migron, with about six hundred men. It was Jonathan and his armour bearer who courageously crossed over to the camp of the Philistines, killed twenty men and panic broke out in the Philistines’ camp.
Saul and the rest went to join the battle after hearing the noise in the camp of the Philistines and discovered that Jonathan and his armour-bearer were not in their camp. God gave victory that day to Israel through Jonathan but Saul’s foolish vow limited their victory.
Later, when the battle where Saul and his three sons died came up, Saul manifested his phobia for the Philistines as usual. “When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets” (1 Samuel 28:4-6 New King James Version). He feared death and he died in the hands of the Philistines.
You don’t need a title to be a leader. David and Jonathan performed effectively not because of any title they had. Don’t be title crazy. Serve. Don’t refuse to serve because you’re not given a title. If you’re given a title, let it not go to your head. See it as a means to become more effective. Be a servant-leader, not a title crazy leader.
Jesus showed the example of servant-leadership to the disciples when he washed their feet in John 13. He told them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (verse 14 New King James Version).
When the disciples of Jesus came to ask Him in Matthew 18:1, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus told them in verse 4, “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (New King James Version).
The servant is the leader! It’s not the title-holder. Jesus says, “In this world the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant” (Luke 22:25-26 New Living Translation).
Mark 9:35b puts it thus: “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else” (New Living Translation). Matthew 20:27 says a similar thing: “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave” (New Living Translation).
Don’t look for titles; accept responsibilities. Serve with humility. “You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for ‘God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5 New Living Translation). Avoid pride, which is one of the major reasons many people don’t serve; have the mind of Christ (Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 23:12, Ezekiel 31:10-12; Obadiah 3-4; Philippians 2:5-8).
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the LORD, and not unto men, being certain that the LORD will reward you (Colossians 3:23-24). Do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Leadership is servanthood. We serve God when we serve men. You don’t need a title to be a leader.
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: I shall not look for titles; I shall accept responsibilities. I shall serve with humility and not be proud. Holy Spirit, help me to be a servant-leader.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947