Motives are weighed by God (Proverbs 16:2) and a leader is known as iniquitous or inspirational purely on whom they do the work of leadership for. Let it be known that the leader whom God chooses will inspire people because of their commitment to inclusivity, reconciliation, personal humility, and because of their courage. A leader who is self-designated or raised up for the wrong reasons – an iniquitous leader – will lead people nowhere because nothing in their ministry of leadership is built with sustaining purpose.
Inspirational leaders ‘stand in the gap’ for others or a purpose beyond themselves, but iniquitous leaders run, spurn, or hide from such a role:
The Lord, through Ezekiel, said: “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap...”
— Ezekiel 22:30 (NLT)
If we are servant-hearted it is likely we will resist – at least initially – the mantle of leadership. Perhaps we can say, as a general rule, the best leaders are reluctant leaders. Many who choose the role of leader – at least initially – have their own needs and desires met through leadership – the wrong motive.
Leaders serve. They connect with people and, with resourcefulness, utilise things, to inspire courage through encouragement.
Finding a gap to be filled, leaders slide right into the niche of an identified need and soon they are filling what was previously hopelessly devoid of focus and activity. They tend to shine because of the innovation with which they get problems sorted. They are prepared to be unconventional, but are equally sensitive to reasonable people needs. They want to take people with them where they are going, but they don’t necessarily see themselves as the one everyone should look to. They have one goal in mind: they stand in the gap and do what needs doing in the service of people and the greater virtuous good.
What a privilege it is to work for God; to work hard on a purpose that consumes our lives, not so much that we are spent to the point of exhaustion, but that we are spent each day serving with joy, just because we can – because we have been invited into the only work with any lasting meaning.
To stand in the gap is a leader’s sovereign and God-anointed call. They see the need before them – a humanitarian need, a justice need, etc – and they give their lives to the fulfilment of that need.
A true leader can be trusted, because they have no call or commission from themselves. Those who serve Jesus don’t care about receiving kudos, but they give kudos. They care about the purpose God has given them, alone. They see what no one else does and they do what God tells them to do, and, in that, they are honoured.
When everyone else on the team is blessed, the leader feels they have done a good job.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.