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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Good Leaders

Memorable Moments Hebrews

Hebrews 13:17 ESV

What I’ve noticed about really good leaders is that they have a unique plan, people are drawn to them, and they don’t always follow the textbook rules for leadership.

In other words they are their own unique kind of animal.

I love watching National Geographic shows about animals, especially elephants and chimpanzees. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to those two very different species of animals, but I think they are unique and somewhat unpredictable.

Allow me to explain.

While animal scientists can watch a herd or a shrewdness they cannot always predict how they will respond with each other. Instead they watch for a leader to emerge.

It’s organic.

There is something unique about a certain chimp or an elephant that makes them assume a leadership position in a shrewdness (chimp) or a herd (elephant).

It’s interesting to note that in the wild baby elephants are disciplined by the herd. Elephants born in captivity can be wayward as they mature because they are not disciplined by older elephants. Humans have babied them and they do not behave as they mature. Because baby elephants are ‘schooled’ by the herd they possess characteristics of the herd. They integrate with the herd and a true natural leader can emerge.

When we study humans we tend to think we can be taught how to lead. In other words, a leader can learn from a textbook what to do in order to lead.

I’m not sure I agree.

In many cases from infancy certain people possess the ability to lead. Leadership is part of their DNA.

The author of Hebrews seems to understand the dynamic that is at play.

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

The word submit can also be translated to mean to yield.  The Message version tells the reader to ‘listen to them’.

So, why listen?

Listening is a matter of choice. We listen when we want to listen, or we listen because there could be consequences for not listening. It’s the same thing with submission. We submit because we want to submit.

I’ve known leaders who are very charismatic. They have the ability to turn a crowd around. The crowd submits because they believe in the leader. It’s not usually because they believe in a cause. It can be, but most of the time I’ve noticed it’s about leadership.

For example, Billy Graham was a great leader.

At the time he started his ministry, Billy Graham had a great plan and he was able to successfully implement it.

Billy Graham was charismatic. People were drawn to him. It didn’t take long for him to develop a reputation and a ‘voice’. Still today if someone played a clip of five pastors I could identify Billy Graham. His last crusade was in 2005 and I remember his voice like it was yesterday.

While other charismatic leaders came before Billy Graham his style was unique. However it’s difficult to compare his style with earlier charismatic leaders because before the 20th Century messages we’re not recorded.

The author of Hebrews tells us leaders keep watch over our souls. Billy Graham’s first crusade was in Michigan in 1947. I went to my first crusade in Kansas City, Missouri in 1967. I was fourteen years old. My life was forever changed. I have described my entrance into Arrowhead Stadium before. It felt like a hurricane wind swept through my soul. After that night I had dreams and visions and God spoke to me. I was able to recognize the presence of the Spirit of God.

I believed that night that people had been praying for me.

As an adult I participated in prayer campaigns with the Billy Graham Association. Prayer and pre-prayer was a huge component for Billy Graham.

He cared about souls. I believe he cared about every soul.

The author of Hebrews wrote that leaders will be held accountable for their decisions. In the case of preachers I believe that means that God has blessed them and given them great gifts. According to Hebrews 13:17 that means they will be held accountable for how the utilize their gifts.

In Hebrews 13:17 we are told that leaders should joyfully lead without complaining because there is no advantage to a complaining leader.

Personally I’ve found that when I approach life joyfully God helps me to see joy and when I have a bad attitude life is more difficult.

At some point along the way I decided I choose joy. I choose happy. I choose laughter.

This week I had a FaceTime call with my youngest grandchild. He never fails to make me laugh. He is inquisitive and is very good at solving puzzles (and he can figure out how things work).

He is seven years old. He could easily do standup comedy. When I talk to him I am always reminded to do everything joyfully. I kind of think that’s what the author of Hebrews is talking about in reference to leadership.

Do it joyfully. When called to leadership, let God bless you. Receive what God has for you.

Spiritual Practice: Joy

Practice being joyful.

In God, Deborah


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