Leadership is very important in our lives. It doesn’t matter what we do, we are all leaders. Leadership is not limited to certain people who have important positions. Leadership is needed for everyone. If you are a parent, you need leadership over your children. At work, you need leadership. We also need leadership over our life. We cannot let our life be influenced helplessly by our external circumstances. To live a good life, we need to have good leadership over our life.
You don’t need to be perfect to be a good leader. Leaders have shortcomings too. No one is perfect and flawless. Trying to be perfect may be even hindrance to good leadership. You can be easily discouraged. Or you may try to become somebody you are not. Trying to emulate a certain leader will not make you a good leader. Everyone is unique and therefore every leadership is unique.
Leaders don’t have to be always at the forefront and take control. Leaders don’t have to be always assertive and demanding. Leaders don’t need to have a domineering, take-charge charismatic personality. Each person’s unique individuality will shape that person’s unique leadership. Leadership is about who you are. You don’t have to be somebody you are not to be a good leader. We need to be faithful to who we are to be a good leader.
But that does not mean that we get stuck in being who we are. God accepts us as we are but God does not leave us there. God always challenges us, changes us, and transforms us. So, being a good leader is not just being who we are. It starts from there but it does not end there.
Accepting who I am means to have courage to become who I can be. Accepting who I am means to go beyond our weaknesses and shortcomings. Accepting who I am means I am ready to deal with my own weaknesses and shortcomings. Accepting who I am means to have CONFIDENCE in who I am in spite of my weaknesses.
This confidence is a very important quality in leadership. And this confidence does not come from us but it comes from God. King David had this confidence. That was David’s characteristic. He had confidence in himself not because he trusted his own abilities but he trusted God. He was by no means perfect and yet his imperfection did not let him down because he knew that God was with him.
He wanted to build a temple for God but God did not let him build a temple for God. And David knew why. This was what he said.
David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had planned to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth. (1 Chronicles 22:7, 8)
Was David angry because of that? Was David discouraged? Did he doubt about himself? No. He knew his own weaknesses and shortcomings. But he never doubted God’s love for him. He knew why God did not want him to build the temple for him. But he didn’t stop there. He prepared everything so that his son, Solomon could build the temple for God. Solomon’s temple was beautiful. Historically in Israel, there were three temples and Solomon’s temple was the most beautiful one.
David knew his own weaknesses and shortcomings but they did not let him down. He was not stuck in his weaknesses. He didn’t doubt about himself. He believed in God. He believed in God who accepted him with all his weaknesses. He believed in God who loved him unconditionally. That’s why he didn’t shrink in spite of his shortcomings.
What we read today is David’s last words. After many experiences of his life, this was what he said as a conclusion of his life. We all need to have our last words. What will be your last words that summarize your life?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? (2 Samuel 23:5)
David trusted in God and his promise. That was how he overcame his weaknesses. His weaknesses could not paralyze him anymore. He was confident in spite of his weaknesses.
In leadership, having confidence is crucial. Once we lose confidence, we lose everything. David was so confident that he didn’t need people’s approval. His family had prejudice against him. When Samuel came to the house of David, he was looking for a candidate for a king. Jesse didn’t even show David to Samuel. He told him to go and take care of the sheep while he and his sons were doing an important business with Samuel. That didn’t bother David. He had the inner confidence. Even when he encountered Goliath, a much more powerful man than himself, he wasn’t scared. He had confidence. This was what he said.
But David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (1 Samuel 17:45)
When we have this kind of confidence, we will be very COMFORTABLE with ourselves. When you are comfortable with yourself, you can make others comfortable. Not many people are comfortable with themselves. They live out their insecurity. The way our insecurity expresses itself is very different from person to person. Some people pretend to be strong. Some people become timid. Some people become overly critical. Some people become very sensitive. These are all different faces of our insecurity. But confident people are comfortable with themselves, even with their weaknesses.
Being comfortable with yourself does not mean you become cocky. When your confidence comes from your own skills and experiences, you may become conceited. It wasn’t like that with David. He always lived with the fear of God.
One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land. (2 Samuel 23:3, 4)
He was always mindful of God’s justice. Doing what was good and just for others was important to him. Even though Saul was trying to kill David because of his jealousy, David did not retaliate against him. He did not want to hurt somebody whom God anointed as the king. He wanted to do what was good for Saul and also for Israel. He believed God’s justice. He wanted to do God’s justice not his personal revenge. Ultimately, he saw God’s justice and also God’s goodness.
Spiritual leadership is the leadership of justice for all. We need leaders who care for others. That is what the spiritual leadership is all about.
In Our Lives
Today we are ordaining 4 elders. God has chosen you to be leaders of this congregation. All of you felt inadequate and hesitated. But you have overcome your own reluctance and responded to God’s call. Thank you for that. We pray that God provide you with strength and wisdom. Have confidence in God not just your ability. God will guide you and show you the way. As David’s life was blessed, our life will be like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning.