Leadership Qualities

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 108; 150, 2 Samuel 6:12-23, Romans 14:7-12, John 1:43-51


Today’s reading from Samuel begins with King David retrieving the ark of God from the household of Obed-Edom. David had ditched the ark there because he was afraid of it after Uzzah (one of the men transporting the Ark) was killed by God’s wrath for touching the ark to steady it. Only after the house of Obed-Edom prospered because of the presence of the ark did David once again desire to take it into his city.

This is not David’s finest leadership moment. As king, he had every right to make the choices he did, but as a leader responsible to his people he chose poorly. Good leaders delegate, but they don’t delegate risks they wouldn’t be willing to take themselves. Worse, once the presence of the ark proved to be not just harmless but actually beneficial, he wanted it back. Kind of like a boss who delegates you a project because s/he doesn’t want to be blamed if it goes south, then takes the credit when you manage to make it a success.

David’s heart tried to be in the right place. As the ark was carried into the city, he dressed in the simple garment of the priests, and danced in joy beside his people.  It was a genuine humility of spirit. Of course it’s easier to humble yourself when your people are in a happy place. Kind of like that same boss who took credit for your project later sitting with your and your co-workers in the cafeteria to let you know s/he is just ordinary folk.

David had his many, many flaws but he was still the anointed of God. People who are uniquely qualified to lead are not exempt from mistakes. Those unique qualities might even make them likely. Does that excuse them though? Often the best way we can serve them when they fall short is with an honest but loving reaction. Merely ignoring them can lead to unpleasant consequences from the top down, and allowing no room for mistakes lacks forgiveness. When we have a choice between punishing and fixing, let’s choose well.

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