Two Leadership Skills Every Leader Needs

Being king of Israel was not something David had chosen for himself. God had chosen David to be king.

The Lord also gave David the leadership gifts that he needed to lead the people of Israel wisely. Asaph, an important worship leader during the reign of David (and one of David’s key partners in ruling Israel), mentions two critical leadership skills David possessed.

And these are important leadership talents, ones that every leader needs to nurture and foster in himself or herself. Once you know what the two skills are, you realize that without both of these, it’s difficult to be a leader at all.

Where are you called to be a leader? In your family? At your place of work? In the community? At church?

You can’t go wrong asking God to give you integrity of heart and skillful hands. Wise leaders cultivate both. Because these two are a necessary leadership “both/and.”

As a leader, you may feel you fall short on one or both of these. David certainly fell short at times. But when you fall or fail, remember that Jesus has what you lack.

Ask him for his forgiveness, and ask him to supply his integrity of heart, and his skillful hands. The cross and the empty tomb mean that all of Christ’s righteousness is yours. They mean that Jesus will send his Spirit to strengthen and support you.

That includes granting you integrity of heart, and the strength and wisdom to develop skillful hands, too. With Jesus, you and I stand before the Lord confident that we are his children through faith in Jesus, and assured that we are becoming the leaders he has called us to be.

“He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psalm 78:70-72, NIV).

Lord, grant me integrity of heart and skillful hands so that as I lead, I bring glory to you name.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, July 1, is 2 Kings 3:1 – 4:37, Acts 21:1-26 and Psalm 78:56-72.

Header image based on "Skillful hands" by Jun, CC By-SA 2.0

Leaders AND Followers

Judges, chapter 19, features one of the most horrific accounts in the entire Bible. It is very tough to read.

You know it’s not going to end well when it starts with a man who serves God (as a Levite), and he has a concubine. And as you read on, you’ll notice the language change. He can’t seem to decide whether she is his kept-woman or his wife.

Bad decision follows bad decision. And the ending is truly tragic in every sense of that term. I’ll let you discover the outcome through your reading.

What I want to do is go back and focus on the very beginning of this tragedy, and the seven words that initiate it…

“In those days Israel had no king” (Judges 19:1, NIV)

Ironically, the previous chapter starts with the same words, and while that chapter is not quite as tragic as chapter 19, it doesn’t feature acts of great faith and devotion to the glory of God, either. Clearly, there’s a theme here!

Seven words. Yet those seven words are indicators that faithful Christian leadership is critically important to the story of God’s people. More than that, Christian leadership is shown to be vital to the faithfulness of God’s people.

In today’s world, authority is constantly under question, and even humble, faithful, men of God are carefully scrutinized. Not that this is entirely a bad thing. We all require accountability. But in a culture like ours, we also need to occasionally step back and be reminded of the importance of humble, faithful Christian leadership.

And, by the way, there is critical importance to humble, faithful Christian followership as well! No leader can lead without willing followers.

Of course, no Christian leader is exempt from sin. Each one has his weaknesses and his faults, just as the judges of this Old Testament book did. But those leaders fulfilled the vital role of guiding God’s people forward in times of severe testing, trials and, oftentimes, leading them back to God after serious stumbles in their faith.

This Levite in chapter 19 is a perfect example of the depths to which God’s people will fall without faithful Christian leadership. The Israelites were unwilling to follow God as their King. That’s the sad truth here. And it’s still sometimes the sad truth today.

So God gives human leaders as his agents — his “kings” — to shepherd people with him and for him. These leaders are worthy of honor and respect.

We serve the cause and the glory of God when we follow godly leaders faithfully.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, May 14, is Judges 18:1 – 19:30, John 8:12-30 and Psalm 60:5-12.

Lord, for those roles in my life where I am a leader, help me to lead humbly, faithfully and patiently, for your purpose and your glory. For those roles in my life where I am a follower, help me to follow humbly, faithfully and patiently, for your purpose and your glory. Forgive me for my sins, my weaknesses and my faults, whether leading or following. May the blood of your Son, Jesus, wash me clean, and prepare me for a new day of leading and following. Most of all, may today be for me a day of following Jesus!

Header image based on "Desert Leader" by Hamed Saber, CC By 2.0

Expect Opposition

David was a humble, yet powerful leader.

His humility was evident in how he rose from a shepherd boy to become a king. Along the way, he needed great courage because he would fight battles against Goliath, Saul, the Philistines, and… need I mention any more?

The battles, in other words, were constant. And sometimes they were against people who were supposedly his allies: his generals, his soldiers, even his own children.

Then there were the battles with his own sinful nature. Think Bathsheba. Or numbering his troops.

David didn’t always like the opposition, but he did learn to accept it. I think the realization came early that life and work would offer opposition, when David — as a mere shepherd boy — learned to fight bears and lions.

Our problem is that most of us have not grown up as shepherds. Opposition can take us by surprise. After all, in our own minds, we have the best of intentions. Our hearts are totally in the right place, aren’t they? Our mission is the most important mission in the world! What could there possibly be to oppose?

Opposition can wear us down. It can discourage our hearts and deflate our enthusiasm. And if it comes unexpectedly? Well, that’s especially disconcerting.

That’s why it’s best if we expect opposition — anywhere, anytime, from any person. Like David learned to do — humble and powerful as he was; kind-hearted and well-intentioned as he was.

That’s also why David always turned to God for courage and comfort. God was his peace in times of trouble, his courage in times of fear. God was his constant companion — and God was for him — even when everything and everyone else seemed to be against him.

“Then people will say, ‘Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.'” (Psalm 58:11, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Saturday, May 9, is Judges 9:1-57, John 6:1-24 and Psalm 58:1-11.

Lord, help me to expect opposition. Most of all, help me to know that I will face serious spiritual opposition in life. Whatever opposition I might face, help me to know that it can come from anywhere, at anytime, and from any person. But most of all, help me to be like King David — always at peace, and filled with courage, knowing that you are with me.

Header image based on "opposition" by Abhi, CC By 2.0