By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
In his book, Immeasurable, Skye Jehtani writes: “Compare two leaders. Leader A lifted an entire nation, mobilized his people with clear vision coupled with inspiring passion and launched a movement that has impacted literally everyone alive today. He set in motion an industrial and scientific revolution that produced the first computer, the first jet airplane, began human exploration of space and unlocked the mystery of nuclear war. By the time he died at 56, everyone on the planet knew his name. Leader A changed the world. Leader B lived during the same era and died just 21 days before Leader A, but his life was much different. At the height of his influence, Leader B ran a school with 100 students and he wrote a few books, but he was not widely regarded. When he died, almost no one knew his name.”
Which leadership strategy would you most like to emulate, Leader A or Leader B? If you choose Leader A, then your choice would be Adolf Hitler. Leader B was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Godly leadership is so much different than worldy leadership. In 2 Samuel 1:22-27 and 2:1-7, God’s Word highlights the respect godly leaders should give and should get.
First, Godly leaders respect one another (II Samuel 1:22-27). II Samuel 1:22-27 are the recorded words of David’s lament over the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan. David chose to praise King Saul, rather than focusing on his negative qualities (vv. 22-24). Israel’s next King, David, was giving the proper respect due to God’s anointed and appointed, the fallen King Saul.
Being a pastor in a Southern Baptist Convention church, I am disappointed in the way SBC pastors and leaders are treating one another. Rather than confessing the sins of one another and preying on one another, we should be confessing our sins to one another and praying for one another. Rather than dividing ourselves as Calvinists or Arminianists, we should be uniting ourselves as evangelists. Rather than disrespecting one another, we should be respecting one another.
Second, Godly leaders respect God (II Samuel 2:1-4). In II Samuel 2:1, the Bible says, “After this David inquired of the Lord.” After the fall of King Saul, David inquired of the Lord. David could have raced to acquire the throne, but he inquired of the Lord. Before David allowed himself to be manipulated or manipulate his way to the throne, he inquired of the Lord. How wise it is for godly leaders to inquire of God. Far too many men and women who aspire to lead fail to inquire of the Lord. God’s timing is often the difference between success and failure in leadership. Godly leaders inspire aspiring leaders to inquire of the Lord. Godly leaders inquire of God because they respect God. Inspire to inquire of God rather than to acquire from God.
Third, Godly leaders are to be respected (vv. 2:5-7). The newly anointed King David showed appreciation to the loyalty of Saul’s men who buried Saul (II Samuel 2:4-5). Also, King David affirms his appreciation for Saul’s men through his willingness to do them good (v. 6). At the same time, the appropriation of loyalty and respect given to Saul needed to be transferred to David (v. 7). Godly leaders will seek to genuinely lead God’s people to celebrate the past, participate in the present and anticipate the future. A church’s most celebrated pastor should be the current pastor, not one from the past nor the future. How will you celebrate your pastor, staff and leaders?