Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Traits of a Leader, Part I of II

The Traits of a Leader, Part I of II
March 14, 2011
Numbers 13:30 "'. . . We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.'"

There are quite a few great examples of some amazing leaders in the Bible. If we study these leaders, we can learn a few things that could transfer over into our own lives, empowering us in the place the Lord has set for us. One such leader in the Bible that we should learn to emulate is Joshua. Joshua was the great leader of the Israelites, who came into his position when Moses passed away. He is most famous for leading the Battle of Jericho, when the Israelites marched around the city walls shouting and sounding their trumpets. But before Joshua was a leader, he was something else. Joshua was an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur can be defined as one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risk for an activity or enterprise.

When you think of the word entrepreneur, you might instantly think of a risk-taker. You would be right in doing so. Entrepreneurs, by nature, have the ability to think ahead not matter what the cost, envision something for the future, dream about the possibilities. Entrepreneurs are usually visionaries, imagining a future that does not exist but requires a trail to be blazed. Joshua had these qualities. If you read about Joshua, starting in Numbers 13, you find him among a party of explorers sent out to spy on the land of the Canaanites. Upon their return, all of them had a negative report about the future possibilities in Canaan, except for Caleb and Joshua. In fact, listen to what Joshua had to say about the future possibilities (and when you do, listen for the word entrepreneur or visionary and risk-taker):
"'The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.'"

Joshua was ready to move forward into an unknown future, taking on the great risk of defeating the current inhabitants of the land. To move forward required a new trail to be blazed through uncertain and endless possibilities. Nonetheless, Joshua spoke the words in confidence. He didn't say these words because he was told by God in a dream to say them. He spoke boldly of an unknown future because he was an entrepreneur. When you couple entrepreneurship with faith in God, you can understand why Joshua might speak up to the whole of the Israelites (when hundreds of thousands of Israelites wanted to stone him for it--read it for yourself in Numbers 14).

You may think an entrepreneur is limited to the business world, but I would submit to you that every judge, prophet, apostle, or Christian in the Bible was an entrepreneur. Throughout the entirety of the Bible, every one of them blazed a trail that had never been imagined before, assuming the risk of even their lives. Most of them blazed their trail in the face of adversity or among people who were afraid or even wanted to kill them for their ideas. But the entrepreneurs had faith that it would work out. In fact, the very nature of an entrepreneur requires faith, hope in a future that does not yet exist. This is also the very thing that pleases the Lord the most, faith. You cannot please God without faith; therefore, if you possess faith, you do have an entrepreneurial spirit inside you. Don't be afraid to step out in faith, especially if it requires a new trail to be blazed. Your entrepreneurship, if coupled with your Christianity, will please the Lord as great faith.

Most leaders, whether they are leading a Fortune 100 company or a church of 100 people, must envision a risky future and march toward it boldly. If they don't, eventually the leader will have nothing to lead and consequently nowhere to go. Leaders don't simply walk in circles or on paths already taken; followers can do that on their own. Followers need a leader who can take them places they have never even imagined. Joshua was just that person, a visionary who was excited about an unknown future and spoke boldly about it because of his faith in the Lord. Incidentally, the other men sent to spy out the land with Caleb and Joshua, who didn't have that same entrepreneurial spirit, were struck down by the Lord (Num 14:37).

1. What trail have you been thinking about blazing?
2. Are you afraid or is your faith in the Lord strong?
3. How can you allow your Christian faith to give you boldness for an unknown future?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Numbers 13-15, Heb 11:6

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