Leadership by Light
From the playground to Wall Street to the teachers’ workroom to the family's living room, we see all kinds of leaders: good and bad, fair and unfair, effective and disastrous, encouraging and manipulative. What makes the difference? How can we become leaders who will encourage and motivate others?
The Bible draws pictures of leadership from the stories of God’s people. One of the best contrasts in leadership styles comes to us from 2 Kings 21:1-23:30. King Manassah of Judah, was an infamous king, known for his evil and perverse ways. He rejected God and led the Israelites into darkness and sin. Greedy and power-hungry and cruel, he listened to no one but himself, and he continually provoked the Lord to anger. His leadership led to disaster and ruin.
Manassah’s youngest son Josiah ascended the throne at the tender age of eight. Unlike his father or brother or other evil kings, Josiah was a leader who brought light and hope and new life. When the books of the Law were discovered in the rubble of the temple, Josiah became determined to lead the people back into a relationship with God. He sought counsel and listened. Then he led the people by example. They eagerly followed such a humble and honest leader, and their nation turned from darkness to light. For a brief period, God was honored.
Leaders today have choices to make about how we will motivate, encourage and help the people in our care. Leadership by bullying, controlling, and manipulating only results in discouragement, fear, and resentment. Who wants to be known as the playground bully or the king who did evil in the sight of the Lord? On the other hand, leadership by humility, honesty, faithful example and encouragement brings hope and light and success. With God’s help, we can be leaders who bring glory to God and encouragement to the world.