S181P2 – The king’s exiting prayer: a kingdom beyond himself

1 Chr. 29:12-13

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

There are two kinds of leaders, and I have been under the authority of both.  The first kind of leader, which is the one I have experienced most often, takes a self-centered approach to leadership.  These leaders see their position and authority less as a privilege and more as a right.  Their work focuses on advancing their own place so that they can grow in power or prestige.  The second kind of leader focuses on those being led.  These leaders know that it is not about themselves but about the ones for whom they are responsible.  The focus is centered outside themselves because they understand that their function as head of a group or body is to work for the group’s growth and prosperity.

When David addressed the Lord as “our God”, he was recognizing that he did not stand alone from the people under his authority.  David was group-minded because he understood the true nature of his role as king.  He was given that job by God not so that he could take center stage but so that he could be a leader and protector of God’s chosen people.  He was not a perfect king, but he got it right by the end.  The Lord was his God just like He was the God of the people because David was just like them.  As they humbled themselves before the Lord, David also humbled himself before the Lord.  All children standing before their heavenly Father, they certainly were equals in that respect.

One thing I always look for in a great leader is someone who is more concerned with investing in those they serve than in themselves.  Leaders who see themselves as distinct from those they lead will see themselves as greater and more worth their own efforts.  They think the real value in leadership is in their individual growth instead of the growth of those they are charged to support.  Leadership that is executed with discipline and authority but without compassion and discipleship leaves undone the greatest work the leader has to do.  Father, keep us mindful of those You have called us to lead and focused on making sure our work considers them first.