Leading as servants as Jesus did…
There were many great leaders in the Bible, such as the Apostle Paul, and you will find that those who truly were great were also great in their humility! Of King David we read in “Acts 13:22: And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” And also Acts 13:36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.” David was “God-hearted,” which meant he served God’s purposes. David was under God’s command, he did what the Lord asked him to do, willingly unseen and obscure—always wanting the Lord to get all the glory. David was God’s servant all his days. Just so, if we want to be great leaders in the Kingdom of God, we must be willing to serve God unconditionally, with great zeal and passion.
Remember, David was the youngest, he was neglected and unwanted, yet God chose Him because God does not look at leaders the way the world does. Saul was the kind of leader that the world admires, yet Saul failed because he was too full of pride and arrogance. He was more occupied with his reputation than the will and the way of God. Yet this is not like David, who just kept following the Lord he loved. God uses the available lives of servants for His Glory. David was chosen by God because God is always on the lookout for servants! What is someone after God’s heart like? They are God’s servants. True leaders are willing to serve – first and foremost always God. They are in harmony with God, burdened with what burdens God, obeying all they know that matters to God. In other words—their heart is all God’s. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”
David’s actions provided a powerful testimony to those who saw him—and they were willing to tell what they saw. David, after all, was a man of integrity (Psalm 78:72) and it reflected in his actions, speech, and faith in God. What kind of advertisement are we as servants and leaders? In 1 Samuel 16, we read “18 Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” Listen to Paul when he writes in 1 Timothy 4 “2 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” We must thus set an example as Jesus set, for then we shall influence others. And such influence will not flow from pride or arrogance, but from love, compassion, and a passion for God’s ways, will, and truth.
The reality is that God uses humble servants for His Glory! David never sought the spotlight. David resisted the pride that often tempts us after great accomplishments. David had a job to do and he humbly did it. He was consistent, faithful, dependable, and as a humble servant, he was genuinely unaware of himself. In 1 Samuel 18, we read: “17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife. Only be valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles.” 18 So David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” Talk about great humility! David was appointed and anointed by God yet he still reasoned “who am I?” David was a great leader because of his willingness to serve and to trust in God. This was evident throughout the Psalms he wrote.
David was thus a great leader because he was a humble leader. He was not spoiled by honor, he freely confessed his weaknesses, and he gave God the glory for what he accomplished. The Bible describes humility as a lowly view of self, an exalted view of God, and submission to God’s will. David’s humility contributed to his greatness as a leader. We need, therefore, to be humble leaders! David’s exalted view of God ultimately kept him from pride, and this should be the way of all leaders as well. Psalm 10, which most Bible scholars think was written by David, compares the proud man to the humble man. Verses 1-11 reveal the characteristics of the proud, and verses 12-18 reveal the characteristics of the humble. The reality is that a high view of God produces a low view of self. Humility is also seen in our submission to God’s will, and this should be the way of all leaders in service to God. Proud men “do not seek after God” (Psalm 10:4). They are determined to have their own way. This is not the way of Jesus.
David never thought of himself as more than he was. When preparing to fight Goliath, Saul tried to make him wear his armor. But David readily admitted, “I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them” (1 Samuel 17:39). Leaders must know their strengths and weaknesses. David’s strength was the Lord, his weakness was himself, and he knew both very well. Insecure and proud people are often blind to their own weaknesses. Some five to ten years later, David fled from Saul’s wrath. Twice during that time, he came face to face with Saul. The first time he called himself “a dead dog” and “a flea” (1 Samuel 24:14). The second time he called himself a “flea” and “a partridge in the mountains” (1 Samuel 26:20). David had no problem thinking of himself as nothing. Goliath, however, lost his head because of pride! In 2 Samuel 7, God promised David that his children and descendent would always sit on the throne of Israel. That God would do this for David overwhelmed him. He replied in verse 18: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” Talk about humility! Yet in humility, we find the greatest strength and power to lead and to influence.
A test of humility is whether or not one is unconcerned about who gets the credit. After David was anointed by Samuel as the next king—what did he do? David went back to his obscure, humble, monotonous job with those dirty sheep. He never proclaimed he was now a king. After being elevated to being the king, David goes on with life, stays the same humble servant of the Lord that he was before that day. Because he was so humble and true to God, David’s love and passion for God warmed the souls of those around him. And that is a mark of a great leader. David’s spiritual influence even calmed demonized Saul. We are to be salt (preserving decay around us) and light (the beacon of truth pointing at Christ) to a lost and dying world around us. By our kindness and goodness, we need to lead and impress a lost world with Christ’s love.