Devotional: May 25, 2021
Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.
Proverbs 20: 28 The Message
Good leadership is something we always need. These days, it feels like there is a crying need in every element of society, including politics, for leaders who are loving, always tells the truth, and have integrity. What makes for a good leader? This single verse from Proverbs focuses on two important qualities needed in a leader.
Leading begins with love. One of the reasons why people often abandon leaders, or give up on them, is because they have been lied to by their leaders. They jump ship because they do not feel cared for, and loved, by their leaders. To put it another way, if you lead with love, truth and honesty in your heart, you will lead well. Conversely, if you lead with dishonesty, resentment and personal self-interest, you will not lead well.
Jesus was and is the greatest leader the world has ever known. People were drawn to Him, following Him because He loved them. That is why crowds formed around Him. The Pharisees ruled with contempt for their followers. They also tended to be cruel, dishonest, and self-serving. Consequently, people abandoned them. They were both angry and envious at Jesus’s overwhelming popularity. Not surprisingly, people followed Jesus: the leader who loved them.
A leader needs to be truthful. A wise leader has integrity, and is faithful to their own rules, whether or not any else is watching. Throughout history, we have observed leaders who say one thing, and then do another. Often, they have an excuse or try to justify their misbehavior. Yet we know that even no human being sees sin, the Lord does. I don’t think I would like to try and justify my misbehavior to the Lord!
People may forgive a leader for many things, but being lied to is not one of them. The “do as I say, not as I do” choices and behavior are never respected, and show their true character. As this verse makes plain, a leader must show integrity towards those whom they lead.
We all lead in one way or another. We represent our Lord, just like a politician is a representative for their constituents. Wherever we are, and whatever we are doing, may we do it with love. Let us speak the truth, and show integrity to everyone we encounter. The world needs our leadership! It is part of the reason why Jesus characterized those who follow him as “the salt of the earth”. We are to flavor the world with God’s love. Through our love of other people, even those who are our enemies, we may introduce them to the One who said, “I am the truth,” who is also Love Incarnate (love in the flesh).
Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me.”
John 14: 6 The Message
Thank You Lord, for sending Your son Jesus, to love me and to lead me. May all of my actions be motivated by love, and truth. Forgive me when I am inpatient, and do not trust You to lead me and others in the direction You have already chosen. May I seek to love You, to honor You, and to exemplify Your character with everything I do. When I am called to lead, let me do so in Your will. Help me to trust You as the greatest leader, and my leader and Lord. I pray this prayer in Your holy name.