You want to be a leader?

So, you want to be a leader? There’s no better leadership checkup than what Paul wrote to Timothy: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Leadership is not a function of age or ability, according to the Scriptures, but a function of character. You want to be a leader? Don’t tell me about your SAT score or your internships or the offices you have held and the influence you have wielded. Tell me about your character. Better yet, show it to me. Be an example.
In your speech. Remember, Paul is writing this letter to a young pastor, a man who speaks every day as part of his job. I feel Timothy’s pain, and yours as well, if you are one of those who only opens his mouth to switch feet. Those who lead must be good examples with their tongues, whether they are running for office, leading a church or business, or doing anything else that puts them out front.
In your conduct. You can fool some of the people some of the time, Lincoln famously said. That’s true with speech. But your conduct, how you behave, will eventually show who you really are. Good leaders don’t say one thing in public and do the opposite in private. Not if they want to be useful to God and man.
In your love. It is possible to say all the right things and do all the right things … for the wrong reason. That’s why the Bible teaches that even if I give all my goods to feed the poor and my body to be burned as a martyr, but I do it to somehow win favor with God, not because I love God and mankind, “I am nothing.” Sobering words those who lead must heed.
In your spirit. This word in Paul’s instruction may refer to the Holy Spirit or to man’s spirit, or even to the way we say someone “has a good spirit about him,” a genuine fellow. I consider those three intertwined like a threefold cord.
In faith. This is the missing ingredient for many leaders whose hope and confidence is in their own intellect or ability. Chris runs a family conference center in New Hampshire. Once, someone gave them a few packages of English muffins, and with 11 children in the family, they disappeared quickly. One child complained, saying she wished they had more. So, Chris said to his children, “The muffins came from God, right? Let’s stop right now and ask the Lord for English muffins.” They stopped the meal and prayed. Within a week, a miracle occurred: Six hundred packages of English muffins arrived at their door. “We gave them away,” Chris said. The English muffins really started pouring in then; some weeks there were 1,200 packages delivered. Chris said, “It was great to see God provide for us so we could share with others. We have to have the God-factor with our finances.”
In purity. Paul started with the tongue, and ended with the thought life and the heart motives. The sins of lust, greed, and pride are much harder to see, and we can become masters at keeping them covered up. That’s why we each need people who are willing to ask us the hard questions so we cannot hide in the darkness. How many “good leaders” have been derailed by their hidden sins brought into the light?
You want to be a leader? Do a check-up with these truths from God’s Word.

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