Sometime ago, I met a man; though he wasn’t of a reputable class, he struck a chord in me. This man worked as a servant in the palace of a “no nonsense” king; but, even as a servant, I could imagine him as king.
“How can you envision a mere servant to be king?” You may ask. What is it about such one that stirred up these considerations in your heart? His stature? His clothes? His speech? His bank account? Oops! Does he even have one? For crying out loud, what qualifications does a mere servant have for leadership?
I wish I could say he had every one of such attributes; but, no, I can’t say that. I can only tell you that I met a man whose heart mirrored that of a true king. This man possessed the heart of a leader and that heart became his qualification for leadership.
How do I describe a leader’s heart?
A leader’s heart is one that is full of love. Don’t tell me for a second that a leader must be feared or frightening! One is not a leader because he compels people to follow him by physical strength. One is a leader because he inspires people to follow him by his examples.
Meeting this man, I met one who was extremely concerned and interested in people. He wasn’t a free man, but he was concerned about the welfare of others. Tell me, can you care whether or not someone somewhere is dying while you yourself are gasping for air, hoping you could survive through the moment? Are you bold enough to declare that you can willingly put the needs and interests of others ahead of your own?
But, here was a man whose concern was the welfare of his people. At the point where he realised that they were in a terrible state, I saw him cry. I saw him weep and mourn. I saw him fast and pray – not for his own deliverance but for the deliverance of his people. I saw him take up a burden which originally shouldn’t be his or any of his business. I saw him risk his life to change things.
We live in a world where people want to do things for ambitious reasons, for the recognition and approval of others, for the satisfaction of self and for the nursing of ego and self-worth. In such a world, this man took a step higher, to the plane of doing things for love’s sake. He wasn’t seeking leadership; he was seeking the welfare of his people.
Perhaps you are wondering if the picture of leadership I imagined for him ever came to fruition? Sure, it did. Just like I envisioned, his heart elevated him to the place of leadership.
My question to you, Would-be Leader is this: how much of people’s pain can you feel? How much love and concern do you sincerely have for people? How far can you go in search of a solution to the problems of others? I know you want to lead them; but, hold on, it’s beyond that. True leadership isn’t the ability to give commands; it is the ability to genuinely serve the needs of others.
Here’s what he said: “At the time I was in the palace complex at Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, had just arrived from Judah with some fellow Jews. I asked them about the conditions among the Jews there who had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem. They told me, ‘The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.’ When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven” (Nehemiah 1:1-4, MSG).
Nehemiah – for that was the servant’s name – moved from being a servant to becoming a leader because he had THE heart: a servant’s heart; the heart of a leader; a heart of love.
May you receive a heart that truly loves. May that heart bring you to your place of elevation