Working definition of this leadership concept:
Leaders are not: arrogant, violent, quarrelsome, quick-tempered, or lovers of money (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-8).
We are halfway through the alphabet and with the letter “N” we pause to reflect not on what leadership should look like but, instead, some contrasts – What healthy, Christian leadership does NOT look like. These "qualities to avoid" come from the lists of qualifications for church leaders in 1 Timothy and Titus.
We can see how these attributes contrast with leadership concepts we have already (or will soon have) covered in our series; Leaders are…
Benefits for leaders who avoid the “not’s”:
1. Arrogance blinds us and binds us. It keeps us from seeing the truth about ourselves and separates us from others. I believe pride is the flip-side of insecurity, like opposite sides of the same coin. Saying it another way, pride binds us to insecurity and the need to keep up performance and appearances. Cooperating with God as he roots out pride brings freedom and authenticity.
2. Being quarrelsome and quick-tempered escalates conflict whereas gentleness diffuses conflict and helps us work toward resolution.
3. Loving or being devoted to money leads one to have to serve money. It impairs one’s ability to wholeheartedly serve the Lord by offering the gift of leadership He’s given to serve the community. Jesus taught:
“24 ‘No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.’” (Matthew 6:24, ESV, emphasis mine)
Motives are complicated by having more than one master one is serving. When serving God alone, one is confident as a steward of His wealth and resources and is free to follow His agenda. This is the path of peace. A good friend shared, “I believe when you love money you are serving yourself and what you can get, not meeting needs at all except your own. Leaders can make it look pretty and have a following from their talent but God and His people are robbed.”
Benefits for the community where leaders avoid the “not’s:
1. Avoiding the pain and problems caused by arrogant, quarrelsome and quick-tempered leadership.
2. Leaders who are devoted to God, not money, are able to serve God and others whole-heartedly, resulting in the prospering of the community.
Biblical inspiration and support:
The following passages include lists of characteristics of Christian overseers or leaders:
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.” (1 Timothy 3:1–9, ESV, emphasis mine)
“7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” (Titus 1:7–8, ESV, emphasis mine)
In the Titus passage we see the contrast again:
Not a drunkard
Not greedy for gain
Lover of good
As we look at the contrast in these passages, I think we see it illustrating further what it means to love God and others, the two great commandments (Luke 10:26–28). To love the Lord will all your heart, soul, mind and strength does not look like being greedy for gain but rather being a lover of good. Loving your neighbor as yourself does not look like being quick-tempered or violent but rather disciplined and hospitable.
Paint a picture in your mind.
Consider taking some time with the Bible passages in this blog and:
1) Bring to mind people you have encountered with the positive characteristics listed and recall how their behaviors and attitudes affected others.
2) Bring to mind people you have encountered with the characteristics to avoid listed and recall how their behaviors and attitudes affected others.
3) Spend some time praying and asking the Lord to reveal to you if there are any of the “Not’s” that are finding their way into your behavior and attitudes. Read through the scripture slowly. God uses His scripture to bring correction. If you notice an area where your attitudes and/or behavior are out of alignment with His word accept this revelation as the Lord’s invitation to walk in His ways through His power at work within us (as the apostle Paul teaches).
"20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20–21, ESV)
Ask the Lord for forgiveness for being out of alignment with His will and ask for grace to be like the overseer described in His word. Ask Him for other people to walk alongside and help you.
I am praying for you, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comment: What leadership characteristics would you like to grow in?
Hi! I'm Jeri Howe.
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