by Joel Comiskey
A study of 300 highly successful people such as Franklin Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Mahatma Gandhi, and Albert Einstein revealed that one-fourth had handicaps such as blindness, deafness, or crippled limbs. Three-fourths had either been born in poverty, come from broken homes or had exceedingly tense or disturbing situations.
Sometimes we fail to see emerging leadership because we are looking for the wrong things. We often look for those who mesh with our personality but pass over those who follow a different drummer.
Samuel misjudged the Lord’s choice for the second king of Israel because he focused on height and stature:
- Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.’ But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:6-7).
Jesse was just as surprised that his older children were not elected. He had not even considered inviting his shepherd boy David to the ceremony. But even though David was a “ruddy” young boy, “. . . the LORD said, ‘Rise and anoint him; he is the one!’” (1 Samuel 16:11-12).
God tends to use the “ruddy, young boys” that are fully committed to him. We tend to hang educational nooses around budding leaders. Yet the harvest is so plentiful and the laborers are so few that God would have us look at all leadership possibilities around us.
Surprisingly, Jesus did not choose key, prominent men to form part of His 12. None of Christ’s disciples occupied important positions in the synagogue, nor did any of them belong to the Levitical priesthood. Rather, they were common laboring men with no professional training, no academic degrees, and no source of inherited wealth. Most were raised in the poor part of the country.
They were impulsive, temperamental, and easily offended. Jesus broke through the barriers that separated the clean and unclean, the obedient and sinful. He summoned the fisherman as well as the tax collector and zealot.
Jesus saw hidden potential in them. He detected a teachable spirit, honesty, and a willingness to learn. They possessed a hunger for God, a sincerity to look beyond the religious hypocrisy of their day, and they were looking for someone to lead them to salvation. In calling the despised to Himself, in sitting down to a meal with sinners, in initiating the restoration of a Samaritan woman, Jesus demonstrated that even these people were welcomed into the kingdom of God.
Pastor, most of the leadership problems can be solved if you are willing to develop the lay people within your congregation. True, this will require that you open your heart to a broader spectrum of lay people in your church. You will need to be willing to delegate the ministry and prepare others to do the work of the ministry through the equipping and coaching.