What qualities make up a leader? If there’s anything to be said about the fast-paced, Pinterest-worthy world that we live in today, we put an insane amount of pressure on ourselves…and one another.
Good news: The Bible simplifies this list for us. So if you find yourself exhausted with expectations, let’s shrink our “Leader List” to three qualities and the underlying truth that is crucial for us to remember.
We can find it all packed in Deuteronomy 1:13:
“Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.”
Quality #1: Wise
Easy enough. Leaders need wisdom. But not worldly wisdom. We need the Lord’s wisdom.
And guess what? God isn’t the slightest bit stingy with wisdom.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5
As I read through the Old Testament, I sometimes find myself looking at the life of leaders like Moses and thinking, “How incredible to actually hear the voice of God!”
But that’s the same gift we have with Scripture and prayer. We simply have to be disciplined to show up for the conversation. God’s there for us, friends, pouring out His wisdom that is so incredibly relevant for us today in overflowing abundance.
Simple Recap: Wisdom is KNOWING God’s way.
Quality #2: Discerning
When I was sharing my excitement in uncovering this verse in my quiet time, my husband, James, asked, “How would you define the difference between wisdom and discernment?”
Hearing wisdom is one thing. Knowing wisdom is another. But seeking to understand and put wisdom into practice is discernment.
In fact, in Deuteronomy 5-6, four different times, referring to God’s wisdom, Scripture reminds us both to listen and to do (5:1; 5:27; 6:1; 6:3).
Deuteronomy 5:28b may sum it up best: “They have done well in all they have spoken.”
Leadership is more than just talk; it’s doing.
Simple Recap: Discernment is GOING God’s way.
Quality #3: Experienced
Now, I’m not going to go on a millennial rant…because according to most charts, I am one. But let’s be real and admit that the basis of millennial stereotypes is merited…and I believe this is the missing link.
You’ve got the wisdom. You even have the discernment. But is there a repeat track record?
The greater the leadership responsibility, the more experience is necessary.
USE your wisdom. USE your discernment. But let someone else lead while you get experience so you can lead someday.
It is possible to lead when you’re not in charge. It is possible to make a difference even if someone else’s role is seemingly “bigger.” It is possible for God to use you while also using someone else.
Be patient. Lead in small places. Learn. Grow.
Simple Recap: Experience is KNOWING and GOING God’s way…over and over and over again.
UNDERLYING TRUTH: God appoints leaders.
Don’t miss that powerful wording in Deuteronomy 1:13. Man may have chosen the leaders, but God appointed them.
So when we’re leading, let’s remember that it has much more to do with God’s appointment of us than anything did within ourselves. (Stay humble.)
And when we’re not leading, let’s remember that God appointed whoever is leading over us. We may not agree with everything they choose to do, but we can’t argue that God appointed them, and He never wastes anything. (Be alert to remain a part of what God is doing.)
Leadership: Knowing God’s way. Going God’s way. Over and over and over again.