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Christian Gedge

Backwards Leadership



READING: 1 Samuel 9:1-2


(Perspectives on leadership from 1st Samuel)

The book of 1st Samuel is written to describe what God expects and respects concerning human leadership. It contrasts the lives and exploits of four great leaders, Samuel, Saul, David, and Jonathan. The moral of 1st Samuel is summed up in the words of Jesus, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last ..." (Mark 9:35) - in other words, "Backwards leadership."

1/ A "Backwards Leader" is different to what most people think leadership is.

(1 Samuel 8)

When the people of Israel asked Samuel for a king (like the other nations had) he warned them that they would become oppressive and expensive. True leadership doesn't mean power or wealth, but in the end you can say that at least you weren't a despot or a burden on Gods people. (1 Samuel 12: 1 - 4, Luke 22: 25)

2/ A "Backwards Leader" must have tough faith.

(1 Samuel 13: 5 - 14)

Was God fair when he rejected Saul for cracking under extreme pressure? Saul had leadership qualities by conventional standards, but if you want to be a Christian leader tough faith is absolutely necessary.

3/ A "Backwards Leader" is zealous for Gods reputation - not his own.

(1 Samuel 17: 26 - 28)

David's brother insulted him but it was like water off a ducks back. David was more angry that God was being insulted; that's all that mattered to him.

4/ A "Backwards Leader" doesn't grab opportunities for promotion.

(1 Samuel 18: 17 - 30)

Michal was in love with David. He loved her too. But David was not prepared to make use of either of Saul's daughters just to get a quick promotion.

5/ A "Backwards Leader" wants his friend to be leader more than himself.

(1 Samuel 23: 15 - 18)

Jonathan was a prince, a warrior, and heir to the throne, but he wanted his friend to be leader more than himself. Are you prepared to be No 2, or is your only ambition to get to the top?

6/ A "Backwards Leader" never seizes power before Gods time to give it.

(1 Samuel 24)

"This is the day!" they said, but he said to his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing", even though it was in his hands to do it.

Chris Gedge

Perspectives on leadership from 1st Samuel.