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The Heart of a Leader

From the sheepfolds
Reflections on Selections from Psalm 78
From the Sheepfolds
"He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,
Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand."
-Psalm 78:70-72 ESV
Are you "stuck" in work you feel is insignificant and at the lowest place on the chain of importance?
Are you doing menial work when you feel you have a greater calling?
Look at David. His entire schooling was doing what kids do in a family like his - chasing ewes, shepherding sheep.
Yet David, apparently, grasped the parallels. He realized that the lowest work was really at the heart of the greatest work. To serve, to lead, to protect a great people was really just a larger context of what he had been doing in his youth - shepherding people, like he shepherded sheep.
He emerges from obscurity from among hundreds of thousands who had great potential.
He emerges to lead. His significance was not hindered by his lowly position. He did that faithfully. The greater work came later --- yet sooner than he expected.
He was taken from the sheepfolds.
Being Compassionate
Once we experience God, who is our Shepherd, we discover a quality of leadership that defies common wisdom: compassion. It is shepherd leadership. It is an aspect of godliness. It is the essence of empathy. It is is the core of heart of a servant leader.
"Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again."
- Psalm 78:38-39 ESV
I am glad that God does that for me.
Of course, it is completely unfair ....
I do the wrong and He atones for it. That means, He bears the brunt and makes it right.
What kind of wonderful craziness is this?
Grace and mercy.
To Be a Godly Leader
To take our hints from David and God himself, the qualities of godly leadership might be:
  • A sense of being chosen.
  • An upright heart - a heart that makes us want to do the right thing.
  • An awareness that we are leading God's people, not just our people.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Compassion.
  • A desire for atonement, reconciliation, and restoration.
  • Restrained anger.
  • An awareness that we are dealing with human beings who are not perfect.

These are some hints from the two selected portions of the psalms.

Use them as points of exploration for how we might become more effective leaders.