Even a negative example can teach leaders positive lessons. Read Luke 16:1-16.
As Jesus spoke with the crowd described in Luke 15:1-2, He told a perplexing story in chapter 16:1-13 that appeared at first glance to encourage dishonesty. Jesus’ real message is that Christian leaders should mimic the steward’s shrewdness, not his dishonesty. This story of the unrighteous manager teaches leaders lessons about shrewdness in business and a few subtle truths about leadership:
Every leader needs someone who will give them wise counsel rather than a rebuke even when they need to vent. Read Matthew 11:1-6.
John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, had been imprisoned by King Herod for publicly holding him accountable for a moral failure. Prison stripped John’s inner circle of support from him and left him emotionally empty. John had a firm grip on his personal identity and mission; he knew he was called to prepare the people for Jesus’ message, but in a moment of weakness questioned Jesus’ identity. He sent his disciples to present his question to Jesus. Instead of reprimanding John for having doubts, Jesus provided the prophet with the information he needed to be strengthened and have his faith renewed.
Leaders must make it clear what it takes to be part of their team. Read Matthew 8:18-22.
As Jesus’ popularity throughout Israel grew, many people wanted to join His team—become one of His disciples. Jesus made it clear that to become a member of His team, individuals would have to be more devoted to Him than to personal comfort or even family approval. One way He screened those who wanted to be on His team was to test their level of commitment to Him and to the kingdom. Jesus never begged anyone to follow Him and He always issued tough challenges to potential followers. In fact, Jesus at times openly evaluated His followers to insure where they stood.
Leaders who lack character are often more destructive to an organization than helpful. Read Jonah 1:1-12.
Jonah was God’s prophet in Israel between 785-775 B. C. approximately 175 years after the reign of Solomon. Assyria is the dominate world power and in approximately 60 years, in 722 B. C, will have a military victory over the Northern Kingdom of Israel and will take the majority of those living in Israel into exile. Israel and Judah had already seen several examples of the cruelty, tyranny and brutality of Assyria and were living in great fear of any Assyrian military move against them.
Wise Christian leaders seek to demonstrate obedience to God in their leadership. Read Hosea 6:6.
Speaking through Hosea, God is condemning an unrepentant Israel. Right in the middle of a harsh chapter, verse six gives leaders some very clear advice when it says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” God will forgive leaders who repent, but His preference is obedience. Christian leaders need to adhere to standards found in God’s Word.