A leader’s lasting value is ultimately measured by the legacy they leave. Read Matthew 28:16-20.
Jesus had completed His earthly mission. He had fulfilled every prophecy of Scripture concerning His birth, life, death, and resurrection and was preparing to return to the Father. As He gave His final instructions to His team He told them to lead as He had, with the future in mind, making sure they trained leaders that would carry on the mission after they were gone. He asked them to take an approach to leadership that would leave a legacy.
Do you fully understand that your legacy depends on the information that guides your values? (197-3)
God-honoring values serve as a decision-making framework for use of a leader’s power and influence. Read Matthew 27:11-26.
Pontius Pilate served Rome as the Governor of Judea when Jesus was put on trial by the Jewish religious leaders. Roman law did not allow occupied states to carry out executions without approval of the Roman authorities, therefore, the Jewish leaders needed Pilates approval to have Jesus put to death. Pilate acknowledged Jesus’ innocence (Luke 23:4), yet still had Him crucified. Pilate’s values determined how he used his power and influence. Pilate possessed the power to do what was right but was more concerned about his political career and pleasing the Jewish leaders under his jurisdiction than doing what was morally right.
Values are uncompromisable core truths that drive a leader’s behavior. Only when leaders value truth will they speak truth. Only when leaders value honesty will they strive to be honest. Values are the “why” behind leaders’ actions. Leaders must carefully choose their source of values because values place boundaries around behavior and they direct a leader’s decisions. Only when leaders have sought and developed God-honoring values will they use their power in a way that honors God and receives assures the benefit of God’s promises.
Like Pilate in today’s verses, leaders will choose every day how they use their power and influence. Pilate looked to the world for his moral values and became confused by self-interest, social conditions and volatile situations. Pilate had values that centered on self. Pilates’ values directed him to do what was best for his career and for his own convenience. Pilates’ values ultimately have this once powerful man with a legacy throughout history of a weakling. Developing God-honoring values is critical if a leader is to maintain control and direct their influence in productive ways.
Have you established your core truths and resulting values from the Word of God or from the rules generated by society? Do you fully understand that your legacy, and perhaps the legacy of your children (see Exodus 34:7), depends on the source of information that guides your values? The wise leader understands that rejecting the moral high ground will rarely produce a good outcome over the long haul.
Have you had a character failure that is shaping your future and limiting your accomplishments? (197-2)
When Jesus was arrested and standing trial before the Jewish religious leaders, Peter, one of His closest friends and a trusted disciple, was standing with others outside the court chambers to listen to the proceedings. Peter had promised Jesus he would stand by Him no matter the circumstance but now, when the powerful religious leaders were seeking to destroy Jesus and anyone that associated with Him, his character was facing a serious challenge. When the others outside the court chamber bluntly asked Peter if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter denied it and even denied ever knowing Jesus. Peter’s character failed in just about every way possible. In His great love for Peter, God used even Peter’s horrific denial of Christ to help him develop the strong character he would need to lead the early church.
Leaders have natural leadership skills that may bring them significant recognition during their career but an ongoing legacy that lasts for generations depends on more than their personal skill. Read Psalm 103:15-18.
Some outstanding traits of leadership in the natural are self-confidence, integrity, knowledge and understanding of people, the ability to make decisions, ambition, communication skills, and the ability to delegate yet none of these will guarantee a leader joy in their work or lasting values that create a legacy of happiness for their family. In fact “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (vv. 15-16).
Wise leaders do not confuse activity with accomplishment. Read Psalm 49.
David knew ordinary circumstances growing up on a sheep farm as part of a middle class or lower class family, and he knew what it was like to have great wealth and power and live as the king of Israel. Leaders don’t have to have that wide a swing in life circumstances to know that setting life priorities can get confusing and conflicting. Leaders have to decide what matters most or they become victim to their selfish desires or the circumstance that makes the loudest demand. As significant as success, security, and significance are there is something more meaningful, and if a leader misses it they miss everything.