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Leadership

Looking for David

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Looking for David

Today I'm reminded of King Saul, the first king of Israel. The people didn't want God to lead them directly, they wanted a king like everyone else, so God gave them Saul though it wasn't what God wanted for his people. Then when Saul lost favor with God for his disobedience, God sent a spirit to torment him. Meanwhile, God has a young shepherd boy named David anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel. 

It would be another 30 years before David would be king and for 15 years he and his army would live life on the run from Saul. David had two opportunities to kill King Saul, but he didn't because he was God's anointed one. So for 30 years, the nation of Israel would be led by a king that was out of God's favor. A king that was filled with jealousy and rage, randomly throwing spears at people. A king that would frequently take thousands of soldiers to hunt David down to kill him. A king that massacred the entire priesthood, over 80 priests, because he was upset that a priest inquired of God for David, which he had done for years because David was the commander of the Israelite army. 

What's the moral of this little story? That sometimes God gives us what we ask for even though it's not what's best for us...including a king. That while God may appoint all kings and those in leadership and we are to pray for and honor the king, it is very possible for that leader to lose the favor of God (and presumably God's people) because they fail to obey and lack character. And that God is raising up a David somewhere and I just gotta keep my eyes open for God's anointed one. And that it might take 30 years for the anointed one to come to leadership. And that though David's army was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the size of Saul's army, they were still on the right side of history. And that like David, we don't have to be the ones to kill the king; God will deal with the king in his timing and in his way so that our hands may remain blameless.

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Be a Compassionate Leader

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Be a Compassionate Leader

This morning I found myself reading in the book of Esther, where I kind of stumbled on a sentence that spoke volumes about good leadership, or lack thereof. In verse 15 of chapter 3, it says, “The messengers scurried forth with the king’s order. The edict was issued in Susa the citadel. While the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in an uproar!” I’ve read the book of Esther a number of times, but this was the first time this almost small note jumped out to me. 

The commentary on this passage is shameful, but there are great lessons to be learned as a leader. In this story, the king and his highest official send out an edict that permitted the killing and plundering of all the Jews. And as the edict went out, they threw back drinks while the people in their kingdom were in disarray. 

While we as business leaders may never issue a similar decree, we have the power to make decisions that will dramatically impact the lives and welfare of the people we employ and lead, and we have to stay sensitive and compassionate toward them. We can’t be like the king and Haman, who were only concerned for themselves.

In business, we have to make tough decisions. We have to decide if we need to fire or layoff, if we can afford to provide health insurance and adequate paid time off, or if we ask our team to work well above a 40 hour work week or to enjoy a balanced life. Some of these decisions are purely a matter of what we can afford to do, but I encourage business owners to make these kinds of decisions through a compassionate and caring lens. To consider others better than ourselves. Over the years, I made several decisions to provide and care for my team, understanding that it meant that I would take home less profit, but I have no regrets. 

And this isn’t just about being a nice person…it’s building your business’s brand. Will you create a company culture that encourages team members to stay onboard, or to leave at the first opportunity presented to them? Your team will work harder for you and be extremely loyal and trustworthy when they know that you give great weight to their happiness and wellbeing before you make decisions that would impact them.

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