Leadership is the great crisis of our day in the church. Such an observation has been made by many. The Bible relates many examples of leadership. Consider Ezra. In the closing events of the Old Testament when GOD’S people were returning to the city of Jerusalem to rebuild, Nehemiah was the leader of the efforts to rebuild the wall. Ezra was more of a spiritual leader.
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10
Notice the 3 phrases in the passage beginning with “to”; to seek, to do, and to teach.
Ezra is a wonderful example of a great leader. A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
A leader is one who knows the way (to seek the law), goes the way (to do it), and shows the way (to teach).
First I must seek to know the way myself. In that great passage wherein Moses encourages Israel to love the LORD GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and to teach them diligently to your children, it is oft overlooked that GOD commanded to teach self first (Deut 6:1). One cannot show the way until he first knows the way.
Secondly, even knowing the way is not sufficient alone. One must lead by doing. Don’t tell me, show me. It is a “do as I do” attitude that will prompt me to follow. The folly of leading from behind is an oxymoron. One has to be out front in order to lead.
Thirdly, a leader is one who knows the way, leads by example, and then finally passes those skills on.
Paul demonstrated these same leadership qualities.
Philippians 4:9 – The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the GOD of peace will be with you.
Paul says those things you learned from me, whether it is what you heard or what you saw me do, you follow my example.
And then in some of his last recorded words in 2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful me who will be able to teach others also.
This verse lays out the plan for the gospel to be passed from generation to generation. Note there are 4 generations listed in the verse, Paul, Timothy, faithful men, and others.
It is liken to a relay race where the participants pass the baton from one to another. Each is careful not to drop the baton. Where are you in this race? Are you passing the baton to faithful men in the next generation? Do you have it yourself?
Remember the lessons from Ezra and Paul. The first thing is to have the truth yourself. The next important thing is to demonstrate it in your actions. And then, lest we drop the baton, commit these things to the next generation that they may teach others also.