Scripture Passage: Ruth 4:1-17
Selfless Leaders Attain Significance
The nearest kinsman to Ruth refused to marry her in line with tradition. He said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.” Boaz married Ruth and they had a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse and grandfather of David, whose lineage ushered in Jesus the messiah. Boaz became Jesus’ ancestor because he was selfless. The kinsman missed out on this opportunity to attain significance because he was lost in self and couldn’t see beyond his own needs.
The lesson here is this; selfless leaders attain significance. Selfish leaders however, are so consumed with self that they are unable to perceive opportunities for distinction and seize them. Leaders who will be extraordinary are those who are willing to forget self and reach out to help others. Leaders attain significance when they do what is right and not necessarily what is convenient.
Prayer: Father, help me to perceive opportunities for distinction and seize them.
Scripture Passage: Ruth 2:2-3
Leaders Take the Initiative
Ruth arrived Bethlehem with her mother-in-law at the beginning of the barley harvest. She was a foreigner in this land with no idea how things were done. She could have remained at home and made the excuse that she was in unfamiliar territory and didn’t know what to do. But she didn’t. The Bible records, “And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace.” She did not wait to be told what to do. She took the initiative.
The lesson here is this; leaders take the initiative. When it comes to taking action leaders never wait to be told what to do. Leaders are always proactive. They see ahead, think ahead and so are always one step ahead of others. They wouldn’t be leaders if they weren’t.
Prayer: Father, help me to consistently take the initiative.
Scripture Passage: Ruth 1:6-18
A Leader’s Vision is Always About Others and Never About the Leader
Ruth was a young Moabitess who married Naomi’s son, Chilion. After the death of her husband, she left her land and her people and went with her aged mother-in-law to a foreign land, for the purpose of caring for her. Ruth had a vision to take care of her aged mother-in-law until death. Her vision was about Naomi and how she could serve her. Ruth never considered herself and her future. She forsook all to make life better for Naomi.
The lesson here is this; a leader’s vision is always about others and never about the leader. Ambition is always about self and vision is always about others. Orpah had an ambition, to return home, re-marry and have children. Ruth had a vision, to go with her mother-in-law and look after her until death separated them. The vision of Ruth had no place in it for Ruth, it was all about Naomi.
Prayer: Father, give me a vision that uplifts others.
Scripture Passage: Judges 17:6; 21:25
The Absence of a Leader is the Absence of Law and Order
The Bible says, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This suggests a breakdown of law and order in Israel.
The lesson here is this; the absence of a leader is the absence of law and order. A man’s ways will always be right in his eyes but that is not to say that it is right. People require guidance. And leaders provide that guidance. If a leader is not present to make laws to guide people or to give them direction in line with already existing laws, people go their own way and do what their own thing. This creates a disharmony. And where there is disharmony there is chaos and zero progress. Therefore, the leadership positions in any organisation or nation must never be left vacant.
Prayer: Father, make me a leader that promotes peace and progress amongst those I lead.
Scripture Passage: Judges 16:1-21
Leaders Who Fail to Lead Themselves Eventually Lose Their Vision
Samson lacked self-discipline because he never took responsibility for leading himself. He was born to deliver Israel from the Philistines but he failed to complete this assignment because he failed to lead himself. He was completely lawless, and the opposition noted this weakness and set a sure trap for him. When he was captured, his eyes were put out. Eyes represent vision and putting them out signifies a loss of his vision. He did not complete his assignment.
The lesson here is this; leaders who fail to lead themselves eventually lose their vision. And as a result are unable to complete their mission. Many are able to lead others only few are able to lead themselves. A leader must possess ability to lead self before he can lead anyone successfully. A leader who leads others without leading himself will ultimately self-destruct. Leadership, like charity, must begin at home.
Prayer: Father, help me to lead myself that I may not lose my vision.
Scripture Passage: Judges 14:15-19; 15:1-5
Leaders Who Do Not Understand Their Purpose Abuse Their Gifts
Samson was an unusually strong man, who apparently did not know the reason for his strength. His strength was a gift to enable him fulfil his purpose of delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines. But Samson got so power drunk that on a number of occasions, he engaged in a reckless display of his strength for his own personal purposes and not for Israel’s deliverance. It was sheer abuse of his gift; a clear indication he didn’t understand his purpose.
The lesson here is this; leaders who do not understand their purpose abuse their gifts. Someone has said that when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. Everyone is gifted in line with their purpose on earth. However, those who lack an understanding of their purpose will inevitably abuse their gifts.
Prayer: Father, give me an understanding of my purpose and gifts.
Scripture Passage: Judges 14:5-14
Leaders Learn Life Lessons from their Experiences
On his way to Timnath to meet with his bride, Samson wrestled with and killed a young lion. Days later as he passed by the carcass of the lion, he discovered inside it a swarm of bees and some honey which he ate. Then he put forth a riddle to the Philistines saying, “out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” This riddle was, without any doubt, a lesson he had learned from his experience with the young lion.
The lesson here is this; leaders learn life lessons from their experiences. They achieve this by reflecting on their daily encounters and asking the question, “What can I learn from this?” In so doing, they deliberately make their experiences their teacher and they are wiser for it. John Maxwell has said, “By itself, experience teaches nothing, but evaluated experience teaches everything.”
Prayer: Father, help me to learn from my experiences that I may become better with each passing day.
Scripture Passage: Judges 11:29-40
Leaders Must Think Before they Speak
Jephthah made a vow unto God saying, “If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” His only child became the burnt offering.
The lesson here is this; leaders must think before they speak. They must refrain from speaking carelessly. They must not be hasty to give their word. Before making promises they need to consider how it will ultimately affect them and those they lead. A leader who speaks before thinking will always create problems for those he leads. The Bible says, “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything…let thy words be few.”
Prayer: Father, help me to be quick to think and slow to speak.
Scripture Passage: Judges 11:12-28
Great Leaders Know their History
Jephthah was a leader who knew the history of the children of Israel. He said to the king of the children of Ammon, “Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon….God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel…so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites….And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites….even unto Jordan.….whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess….Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me…..” He knew his history.
The lesson here is this; great leaders know their history. A man who lacks adequate knowledge of the history of a people has no business leading them, because the past is the foundation upon which the present and future are built. Leaders must make it their business to know the past of those they lead. Those who don’t know don’t lead.
Prayer: Father, help me to study to know.
Scripture Passage: Judges 11:12-28
Wise Leaders Dialogue First
Although Jephthah was a mighty man of valour, he did not immediately go to war against the children of Ammon. As a wise leader, he tried to dialogue with the king of Ammon. The Bible says; “And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, what hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?” He was not afraid to fight against Ammon. But he knew there was a better way to resolve the issue. A less expensive and destructive way. He began the dialogue with a question as he tried to understand the grievances of the children of Ammon.
The lesson here is this; wise leaders dialogue first. They know the devastating impact of war on all concerned and so they avoid it by first engaging in dialogue with the opposition. Only when dialogue fails do they go to battle. Wise leaders seek peace and not turmoil.
Prayer: Father, give me a mouth and wisdom for effective dialogue.