Every leader, even those with great teams, will be alone and feel lonely in leadership. Read Luke 22:39-46.
Jesus has finished His final meal with His disciples and has crossed the valley to the Mount of Olives where He and His team will spend the night. When they arrive Jesus separates Himself “about a stone’s throw” from His team and begins to pray. It was during His time of prayer that Jesus faced some of the loneliest moments of His entire life. He knew it was just hours before He would be tried, convicted, tortured, and crucified. He also knew everyone on His team would desert Him and that He would spend hours on the cross where God would not look on Him as He took on the sin of all mankind in order to serve as the once-for-all sacrifice for the human sin condition.
Every leader must be able to manage stress. Read Mark 4:35-41.
During Jesus’ public ministry He traveled from city to city and often crossed the Sea of Galilee to preach in the major seaports. During these crossings, which ranged from an hour to several hours, He often caught a nap replenishing His energy levels. During one of these crossings, while Jesus was asleep, a sudden storm hit and His teammates hit the panic button. They woke Jesus and their words indicated they were stressed out from fear. Jesus not only dealt with the source of the disciples’ stress by calming the storm, but He also urged the disciples to place their faith in God. Ultimately, for every leader, the best way to manage stress is to relinquish their problems to God.
Often the most important personal and organizational changes are made when a leader is willing to receive and process bad news. Read Jeremiah 36:1-32.
Today’s study is best understood when put in the context of the history of the last 50 years of Judah’s existence. These are the years before Jerusalem was destroyed and Babylon deported and exiled the survivors.
Tags: Act of arrogance, Babylon exiled Jerusalem's survivors, Coastal trade route, God-honoring king, Josiah's death, King Jehoiakim, Living between world superpowers, Organizational change, Processing bad news, What to do when you receive bad news
Even God’s greatest leaders can become ambivalent and angry under stress. Read Jeremiah 20:1-18.
Jeremiah was called to be a prophet at a time when the people had hardened their hearts and pre-determined not to listen to any messages from God. He often came under fire from leaders who felt he needed some form of harsh discipline for prophesying against Judah and Jerusalem. After all, weren’t these God’s chosen people and wasn’t the temple of God located in Jerusalem. What could possibly happen to a people who had known God’s blessing. In chapter 20 Jeremiah first complained, then praised God for giving him victory over his enemies, then cursed the day he was born.
A leader’s stress is directly related to the choices they make. Read Isaiah 57:1-21.
The people of Israel made some choices that brought unbelievable stress into their lives. In Chapter 56 of Isaiah we learn that the spiritual leaders of Israel, called watchmen, had stopped leading. They chose to stop leading. From history we know that Manasseh was the king and because of the lack of spiritual leadership, Manasseh turned the nation so far away from God’s standards that he even sacrificed his own son in a fire to worship a false god. The people chose to leave the worship of the one true God and worship gods made by human hands from wood, metal and stone. We see the evidence of the depth of their choices in verse 5 when it says, “You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.”