God’s Choice of a Leader
Opening Prayer: God our Heavenly Father, It is here in the study of Your Word, and under the guiding light of Your Holy Spirit who helps us to go deeper in our understanding, that we will find the tools we need to lead. Continue to remind us that the source of true leadership — true spiritual authority — is not influence with men, but with You our God. Blessed our hearts and minds so that when can listen to learn to obey you. In the Jesus name, I pray, amen!
Education is life and it is a process, as long as one lives he continues to experience the process. Learning can be positive or negative depending upon the responses of the learner. For this month’s celebration of the Christian Education and Nurture program of the church we have seen how much our young people caught the style of leadership they have been trained and nurtured, in their homes, in school, in the community and in the church.
For the past two Sundays our young people showed their skills of leadership in their assignment to lead the church services. All of them did a good job. But perhaps some might have thought that some did their best and others may have yet to give more. A trivia question might be asked, Is a leader born or made? To be born a leader is an expression that can suffer some debate.
Anywhere by tradition or custom men are generally expected to be the leader. But women do likewise and in some cases made it at par with men or even better. In the Christian context, whether at home or outside the home each one has the opportunity to become a leader. Being a leader is connected to many characteristics. Some people are considered to be born to be in leading positions. Leading position requires a set of abilities which is not very clear whether this characteristics are inborn (God’s special gift) or they can be developed through skill and experience.
At the onset, as we review in few minutes Chapter 11 of the Book of Judges. I’d like us to have this question in mind: 1. How does God called a leader? and 2. What qualifies the individual to be a leader?
THE RISE OF A LEADER
Who is a leader? According to John C. Maxwell, an American Entrepreneur, Author and motivational speaker, “A leader, is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” He is that person who can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.
Who choose a leader?
In any organization the leader is customarily chosen by the people. The process of choosing a leader varies depending upon the kind of job the leader is expected to do and or upon the type of people who want the leader.
When do we need a leader?
The challenge of the hour creates an opportunity for leadership. A leader is he who stands up to handle the challenges of the hour. Therefore, there is no likely leader who does not have an opportunity to make a positive difference in the society.
Here in SU Church at present, we are in the process of looking four (4) Spiritual Leaders. The four (4) positions of our church ministers will be vacant by the end of the ecclesiastical year 2011-2012. As member of the Ministers Call Committee we are now accepting from the congregation nominees for this position. So, if you have known ministers who you want to lead us in our faith journey, submit your nomination to the church office as soon as possible. This is the time SU church needs leaders.
Israel was at war with the Ammonites and they did not have a leader to command them. At the close of Chapter 10, the Elders and people of Gilead gathered together consulting about the choice of a general, having come to this resolve, that whoever would undertake to lead their forces against the children of Ammon should by common consent be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. See the necessity of government?; though the Israelites were hearty enough in the cause, yet they owned they could not fight without a captain to command them. It is necessary to all societies that there be, some to rule and others to obey, that any community would humbly beg the favor of being commanded rather than that every man should be his own master. Blessed be God for government, for a good government.
The project of looking for a leader is a difficult task. The members of the SU Ministers Call committee are undergoing the experience. For the Elders of Israel they needed something to create a great encouragement to propose to whoever would take the challenge. Now, all agreed that Jephthah, the Gileadite, was a mighty man of valor, and very fit for that purpose, none so fit as he, but he has this disadvantages:– 1. He was the son of a harlot, of a strange woman, one that was neither a wife nor a concubine (Judges 11:1-2). But if his mother was a harlot, that was not his fault, however it was his disgrace. Men ought not to be reproached with any of the infelicities of their parentage or extraction, so long as they are endeavoring by their personal merits to roll away the reproach. The son of a harlot, if born again, born from above, shall be accepted of God, and be as welcome as any other to the glorious liberties of his children. 2. He had been driven from his country by his brethren for being an illegitimate son of their father and had himself head of a band of men who had used up their fortune and had to seek for a livelihood to hunt wild beast. Perhaps, Jephthah may have not known that his being a bastard son was in the same status with the enemies of Israel who cannot enter into the congregation of the Lord.
Now, the Call Committee of Israel started their job. They did not write or send messenger to Jephthah but went themselves to fetch him, resolving to have no denial, and the exigency of the case was such as would admit no delay. Their errand to him was, “come and be our captain that we may fight with the children of Ammon.” Now, Jephthah got the upper hand reminded them, “Did you not hate me and expel me out of my father’s house?” Judges 11:6-8. The Elders knew none among themselves that was able to undertake that trust, replied, “we turn to you now, that you may go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon.” In effect confessed themselves unfit for it; they know him to be a bold man, and inured to the sword. Therefore, Jephthah makes their troubles work for his advancement and he said to the Elders, V9- if you bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head? V11, Then Jephthah went with the Elders and the people made him head and captain over them; and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Jephthah did not speak with too much confidence at all in himself; if he do succeed, it is the Lord that delivers them into his hand, intending hereby to remind his countrymen to look up to God, as arbitrator of the controversy and the giver of victory.
What a characteristics of a leader. Jephthah was cool, insightful, and wise. He was cool by putting aside what was done to him by his brother and took the challenge to lead the army. Insightful by asking not only to be the captain of the army for the crusade but the head of all the inhabitants of Israel, in effect securing his position. It was prudent for him to bargain wisely for the future since he deals with men that he had reason to distrust. Wise because he recognized God’s call and God’s work in his life. He sought guidance from God in his leadership, attributed his success to him, and return all the glory to God for his victory.
In getting right to the main point of this talk, I’d like to give my answers to the questions I stated at the beginning.
A. How does God called a leader?
a. God calls a leader by His sovereign will. Noone can instruct God. He calls
1. Regardless of whether that person has college degree, finished aleadership course, a lawyer, has master’s degree, doctorate degree, CPE training or none at all.
b. When God call’s He equips, enables and provides. The ordinary person becomes extra-ordinary when “the Lord is with him.” God gives the necessary requirements to equip the person of His choice for the job. And God provides the important or special event when the call needs to be carried out.
1. God was declared Jephthah “the mighty man of valor” and made him the deliverer of His people from the Ammonites. The affirmation of the Angel of the Lord to Gideon, “the Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor,” made the reluctant and fearful Gideon took the leadership to deliver Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:11). The greetings of the Angel of the Lord to the young, simple, and ordinary virgin woman, saying, “The Lord is with thee,” blessed thou amongst women”, made Mary, to conceived the Savior (Luke 1:28).
2. No doubt that God had His hand upon the leaders in our contemporary history such as the unbeliever King Cyrus of Persia, the frustrated artist, newspaper boy, and Austrian-German soldier, Adolf Hitler, the ordinary housewife and educator, Corazon Aquino.
B. What qualifies the person to be a leader in this context?
1. He must have his heart with God for “God sought a man after His own heart” 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22. God is willing to give His enabling gifts if we live by His grace. Living by God’s grace is living by faith allowing the Holy Spirit of God to work-in and through his life. Trusting God and not on man’s fleshly strength and resources. For “Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord (Jeremiah 17:9) Allowing the plans of God to be done in his life. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.”
2. He must be humble. For God often humbles those whom He designs to exalt.
3. Jephthah was thrust out from his family, Joseph, Moses and David, the three most eminent of the shepherds of Israel, were all thrust out by men, before they were called of God to their great offices. The Lord Jesus Christ was rejected by own his people, but “God made the stone the head of the corner which the builders refused.”
Closing Prayer: God our Creator Redeemer, and Sustainer, I pray this day for a deeper, more effective understanding for Your church about true leadership — based on their relationship with You, leading by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the truth found in Your Word. We are desperately in need of leaders who do not just dream — but are enabled by You to challenge the very course and direction of the world. I also pray this morning asking you to raise up the detail oriented people to help our visionaries implement Your plans. In the name of JESUS CHRIST our Great Leader, Lord and Savior, we pray, amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
Silvestre S. Alforque
Dr. Alforque teaches Economics at the Silliman University College of Business Administration. He used to work in a bank. His contribution was the sermon he delivered at the Silliman University Church on September 18, 2011, on the celebration of UCM Sunday.