April 19, 2017

Heady Leadership

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Curry Pikkaart, Interim leader for the Classis of Southwest Michigan, describes “heady leadership” on today’s Whiteboard Wednesday.

In football, if you lead with your head, you will suffer the consequences. Most likely, you will be penalized and possibly ejected from the game. However, in leadership if you don’t lead with your head, then you will suffer the consequences.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote about the uniqueness of Hebrew language and the word for “rule,” which comes from 2 Samuel 23:3-4. ”The God of Israel spoke, the rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of the morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.’”

What does it mean to rule in righteousness and in the fear of God? It means to allow your head – that is, your knowledge – to rule your heart. In turn, this needs to rule your appetite. Essentially, we need to let our knowledge and wisdom rule. A second part to the uniqueness of the Hebrew language is that you can take a word and reverse it. When the Israelites saw the word for “rule,” they understood that if you don’t rule in righteousness or in the fear of God, you will come to shame. This flips meaning such that the appetite goes on top, the heart remains in the middle, and the head sinks to the bottom. Therefore, knowledge and wisdom become subservient.

Here are two illustrations from scripture:

When King Solomon began his reign, he filled his mind with the wisdom of God and was known as the wisest man who ever lived. However, he eventually ruled with his feelings and appetite, and ultimately his life ended in shame and embarrassment.

In contrast, when Jesus was in the wilderness he was able to overcome the devil and withstand temptation. How? By quoting the scriptures which had been placed in his mind, he overcame the devil. Later, when he was on the cross dying in agony bearing the sins of the world, every word that he uttered and every prayer he offered was based upon the scriptures which were already in his mind.

As leaders, it needs to be our priority to lead with our head. Particularly, we need to spend significant and consistent time developing a relationship with the written Word, and with the living Word Jesus Christ. Once we can achieve this, we will rule in righteousness and in the fear of God. When anything else in our lives become our priority, we begin to rule by our appetites or our feelings. Eventually, this leads to shame.

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