And he blessed Joseph and said,
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
(Genesis 48:15 ESV)
The Christian leader is always led.
Your students will learn that no matter how high on the ladder they climb, no matter how “successful” they become, they are always led by God. This makes us different from any other type of leader. Your students will learn that we are always beholden to a higher power.
We live in a country that values our independence and freedom above all other things. We are all upset when someone’s rights are trampled, or when we lose our precious freedoms. While political freedom is great thing that we should be thankful for, we have to be mindful that everything, including our political freedom, comes from God.
Israel’s statement says a lot more than it appears to at first glance. Israel has spent his entire life herding animals. A Shepherd does more than just watch sheep. They lead them, make sure they are safe, and make sure they are provided for. Domesticated animals are totally dependent on their shepherds for life.
Israel’s statement tells us that Israel is as dependent on God to lead him as his animals are on him. That’s a bold and important statement.
Even though we may be leaders, there is always a Leader higher than us. We are followers of that Leader. In fact, unless we are followers of God, we can’t be Christian leaders, because the strength, wisdom, and skill to lead as a Christian comes from God in the first place.
Israel knew and acknowledged something that most of us can’t wrap our mind around: That we are totally dependent on God for everything that we have. Until we readily accept that, our ability to lead will be diminished, because the higher power that we turn to will usually be ourselves.
Our outlooks need to be more like Israel’s: even though we are given the honor of leading people and not animals.
One of the most important things about being a Christian leader is knowing where our leadership comes from. If we don’t, our leadership becomes about us; God is not glorified by that, nor is He served by that attitude.
Do you claim a complete dependence on God in all things? Do your actions support your claim?
How does claiming a complete dependence free us to be the leaders that God has called us to be? How do you think that’s looked upon in society?
How can we see our dependence more clearly? How can we celebrate it?
List out or talk about those areas in your life that you are reluctant to realize your dependence. Why do you think you have problems in these areas? How can you better let them go?
After you have discussed these areas of weakness, have a time of prayer to pray for each person in the group, for their areas of weakness, and that God would grant that they see just how dependent they are on God and His grace to us.