Harold wanted me to share a story with you about waking up on election day knowing God wanted him to pray. He stated:
“As I prayed...God stirred in my imagination what would happen if someone were to die today before the election results were known.”
“As the person entered heaven...God allowed me to see this person asking Him ‘who won the election.’ To which, God boldly replied, ‘I did.’"
"The people whose candidate lost...prayed to me for the safety and protection of the country from the things they don’t agree with.
"The people whose candidate won...praised me for his victory and the next four years.
"In both cases...I WIN....because the people prayed."
Over the last many years of ministry, Harold has written over 90 blogs and television programs on leadership. I, in turn, am an editor so I take and tweak what he’s written and we at times discuss the blogs and scriptures together.
You would think we’d have covered the bases on the do’s and don’ts of being a leader. Until God allowed us to see something in a way that we’ve never seen it before.
In the book of Exodus, Moses is being paid a visit by Jethro, his father-in-law.
Harold, always the great fan of TV shows where the good guys win and the bad guys lose, said the Jethro of the scripture reminded him of Jethro Gibbs from the NCIS TV show . . .in terms of his demeanor and approach to life. So let me read it to you. . .
Exodus 18:17-23 in the Message Bible says:
“Moses' father-in-law said, "This is no way to go about it. You'll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can't do this alone.
“Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.
“And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten.
“They'll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They'll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they'll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you'll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also."
After reading these verses, God allowed us to see seven characteristics of leadership and what it takes to be successful in this world of ours.
Exodus 18:17-19 in the Message Bible says:
“Moses' father-in-law said, "This is no way to go about it. You'll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can't do this alone. Now listen to me.”
One of the keys to being successful is knowing never to bet on or try to ride a dead horse.
If something’s not working . . .producing the results you desire and/or need. STOP IT.
Your success should never be debilitating to you and/or those working with you. That’s not God’s plan or His best.
Jethro told Moses “You can’t do this alone.” This exhortation brought two quotes and a scripture to mind.
English poet and John Donne said: “No man is an island.” This is especially true when it comes to leadership.
Somewhere along the line, we remembered a quarterback saying:
“Quarterbacks don’t win games. . .teams do.”
It’s important for every leader to realize that you not only can’t do it alone . . .you should never try to figure everything on your own.
The scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message Bible says:
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.”
God will keep you on track. . .even when it seems like you’re going around in circles and making no progress.
If you keep bumping into a brick wall of resistance or seeming defeat . . .you need to figure out a way to either go under, over or around the wall.
You need a breakthrough which we define as:
A sudden burst of enthusiasm, information and/or revelation that takes you beyond all previous points of past resistance into your future success.
Oftentimes, your breakthrough is ignited by who you’re listening to. Which is why it’s crucial to think about who you are listening to for your information.
Proverbs 5:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and depart not from the words of my mouth.”
First and foremost, listen to God and do what He says.
Proverbs 22:17 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Listen (consent and submit) to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge.”
Second, an effective leader has an inner circle of advisors he or she can trust.
Next, Jethro said:
“Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you.”
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things . . .then there’s God’s way if we’re listening to Him. His plan always works. . .if we work it.
It’s very, very important you remember this next statement.
Are we asking God to bless what He hasn't approved?
Proverbs 19:21 in the NIV says:
“Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”
Let’s keep looking for the seven characteristics of leadership listed in Exodus.
“Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God.”
1. Every successful leader. . .makes sure their plans were first, God’s plans.
Proverbs 19:21 in the New Living Translation says:
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”
The Message Bible translation of Proverbs 19:21 says:
“We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails.”
God expects you to plan. . .after all, He made you after His image and in His likeness, and yes, He’s a planner.
But all your plans should be presented approved by Him.
Remember. . .God will never bless what He hasn’t approved.
As I was writing this teaching, God revealed part of my purpose as expressed in Ephesians 6:22 in the New Living Translation which says:
“I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.”
To be an effective leader . . .we need to know our vision. . .our purposes and our goals.
I know there are people who may be saying … ‘well I’m not really a leader.’ I don’t care what you do in life, you are leading someone somewhere. Moms lead their children and usually the way a household is run.
She may not think of being a visionary but she has certain ideas about what is best for her children …because she will instill purposes in her children and see goals that need to be attained.
And if she works outside the home in any capacity, she will be an influence as well.
If you think about your life, you may begin to realize you are making an impact as a leader whether you realized it before or not.
2. Effective leadership is always duplicatable.
Exodus 18:20 in the Message Bible says:
“Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.”
In order to be successful in life you must have a successor . . .which means you must train those who work with you to effectively handle the things you need help in achieving.
Our youngest son started out as a server at a local family restaurant chain before moving on to an upscale Mexican eatery. Even before he left his first employer, he was asked to train new servers because his techniques were so successful.
He’s now working at a downtown hot spot where he has to wear a white dinner jacket and a bow tie. He loves to serve and makes a good living doing it. But he also has friends whom he trained and wanted to move into management and he gets free meals all over town because he was the one who got them started.
If you’re learning a new occupation . . .you want to learn from people who have already proven themselves successful which allows everyone to move up.
An effective leader should always be trying to work themselves out of a job . . .by training and developing new leaders who can assume even greater areas of responsibility.
You’d be amazed or maybe not . . .at the number of people who do everything themselves because they illogically figure that if someone else becomes good at their job. . .they may lose it to them.
Not is that faulty logic . . . it’s a fear of the world … but it’s scripturally unsound. Consider the success principle E68 (Ephesians 6:8).
Whatever good thing you cause to happen to someone else. . .God will do for you.
If you’re good at developing successful leaders . . .you’ll never be out of a job. And, one more thing, you’ll never be broke again because good leaders are in demand.
3. Create a winning profile for members of your leadership team.
“And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten.”
What kind of leader should you be looking for?
Profiling has become a No-No word because of all the politically correct people. . . .but that’s exactly what it takes in building a leadership team with effective people who are good at certain tasks.
A good bookkeeper is meticulous about being accurate with the figures.
Lots of people like builders want to do skillful things with their hands.
Psalm 112 offers an excellent description of the character qualities you want to be looking out for in a leader.
A good leader will give favor and blessings to others.
Psalm 112:5 in the King James Version says:
“A good man sheweth favour. . .”
A real leader will not fear any evil or tricks of the enemy.
Psalm 112:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firmly fixed, trusting (leaning on and being confident) in the Lord.”
A leader will be respected in his community.
Genesis 6:9 in the Message Bible says:
“This is the story of Noah: Noah was a good man, a man of integrity in his community. Noah walked with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
A leader will be stand with and before other leaders.
The Amplified Bible translation of Proverbs 22:29 says:
“Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”
4. Delegate. . .not relegate
“They'll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people.”
The bad thing about a one-man band . . .is that when the leader tires the music stops.
In leadership . . .you have two choices. . .you can live your life by always responding to the hottest fire. . .the thing that most demands your immediate attention. Thus, placing everything else on the back burner or. . .
You can trust the leadership team you’re developing with greater responsibilities.
Yes, they will mess up from time to time . . .but that’s how they learn to never make the same mistake twice. Some mistakes lead to greater values.
It’s significant that vulcanized rubber, Post-It notes, Silly Putty, the Slinky, chocolate chip cookies and penicillin were all created by mistakes and those are just a few of the many.
In 1886, a pharmacist named John Pemberton thought he was cooking up a medicinal syrup in a large brass kettle slung over an open fire as he stirred it with an oar. Pemberton thought he was creating a tonic for people who were tired, nervous, or plagued with sore teeth.
Coke didn't make it as medicine, and wasn't even an instant success as a beverage. In the first year, Pemberton spent $73.96 promoting his new product but managed to sell only $50 worth.
Today people consume more than one billion coca colas a day.
Romans 8:28 says:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Delegate . . .if one of your leaders messes up. . .fix it and keep going forward.
5. Specific instructions with timelines.
Joshua 1:7 in the New Living Translation says:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.”
The instructions from this verse are clear. . .
“Be strong and very courageous” no matter what obstacles you have to overcome.
However, being courageous is not enough. . .you have to obey the instructions you’re given.
Exodus 18:21 in the Message Bible says:
“They'll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they'll be the judges.”
An effective leader and team player will always follow their instructions.
Promotion in the marketplace is dependent upon your ability to follow instructions in a timely manner.
6. Effective leaders build a network of effective leaders
“They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you'll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you.”
As a leader or member of a leadership team . . . never fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent.
I’ve seen many leaders paint themselves into a corner because they didn’t properly plan the things they need to accomplish.
Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 in the New International Version says:
“Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.”
Simply said, there is a right way to do things and there is every other way. It’s also important that we do right things at the right or proper time.
Leviticus 23:37 in the New Living Translation says:
“These are the Lord’s appointed festivals. Celebrate them each year as official days for holy assembly by presenting special gifts to the Lord—burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and liquid offerings—each on its proper day.”
An effective leader must learn to do the proper thing at the proper time.
1 Peter 5:6 in The Living Bible says:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”
When you do things properly . . .decently and in order. . .then you will reap the benefit.
1 Corinthians 14:40 in the New Living Translation says:
“But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.”
7. Create a successful infra-structure.
“. . .and the people in their settings will flourish also."
I’m only going to talk about one aspect of a proper personal infra-structure.
Never forget Who you’re working for.
Your paycheck may come from a specific company, business or governmental organization; however, you must always remember who you’re really working for.
Ephesians 6:7 in the New Living Translation says:
“Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
When you realize you’re working for the Lord and commit to do your best for Him, He will bless the work of your hands.
Psalm 37:5 in the New Living Translation says:
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”
Before you select, hire, recruit or train anyone else for your leadership team . . .you must make sure things are flowing well from the top down.
Final thoughts. . .
Jethro provided an excellent leadership model but one thing was missing. The thing that was missing allowed frustration to overwhelm Moses.
Fast forward to Numbers 11:1 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“And Moses said to the Lord, Why have You dealt ill with Your servants? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You lay the burden of all this people on me?”
A little further . . .Moses in Numbers 11:14 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I am not able to carry all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.”
God’s response was to create the same organizational structure as was implemented by Jethro.
Numbers 11:16 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And the Lord said to Moses, Gather for Me seventy men of the elders of Israel whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the Tent of Meeting and let them stand there with you.”
The next thing God says reveals the absolute key to leadership.
Numbers 11:17 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take of the Spirit which is upon you and will put It upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not have to bear it yourself alone.”
Are you seeing this?
“. . .I will take of the Spirit which is upon you and will put it upon them. . .”
You can read every book ever written on leadership . . .attend every seminar on the subject but. . .the essential ingredient is the Holy Spirit.
You can have a great plan. . .but if the Holy Spirit is not in the midst of it. . .you can’t accomplish what you were called to do.
It is imperative that we not let the frets of this world draw our focus away from the One who is our rock…and our real leader.
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