16 Jan Qualities of a Spiritual Leader: HUMILITY
In the last post we talked about courage being an essential quality of a leader. Courage’s sister is humility. In light of a greater fear (namely, fear of God) casting out a stifling fear of man or the future, humility rightly acknowledges its place under the Sovereign will of another. Sanders says, “The spiritual leader will choose the hidden path of sacrificial service and approval of the Lord over the flamboyant self-advertising of the world” (62).
The concept of humility seems antithetical to the way our world views leadership. I am reminded of our Lord’s words that the world’s leaders lord it over those under their control, but it shall not be so among his followers. The one who truly leads will be the servant of all (Mark 10.42-45). Isn’t this after all, what attracts us to follow after Jesus. He was pompous. He didn’t demand obedience. He gave of himself until his dying breath, and then he continues to give as he intercedes for those who submit to his lordship. Sanders rightly quotes William Law:
Let every day be a day of humility; condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creature, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate over their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowliest offices of the lowest of mankind
A leader is one who is the first to grasp his utter desperation. He knows that he is no better than his neighbor. He can truly rejoice with the one who succeeds because he knows that God is the one who has given that one his blessing. Therefore, it is an act of worship when he acknowledges that others are more gifted than he is.
Since a truly spiritual leader is completely cognizant of God’s gifts, he knows that he is not the only show in town. He knows that to want to hoard and covet other people’s gifting merely attempts to put another brick in his kingdom. Instead of rejoicing in another’s gifts, he becomes jealous and uncomfortable–all too aware that his kingdom is slipping away from him.
As a leader, we are called to point away from ourselves and our methods and our preferences; instead, we point away from us and toward the one who will be able to lead purely and completely. Thus, when our failures disappoint, our little kingdom need not crumble. Instead, we will constantly be pointing people to a Kingdom that is not shaken, no matter how dull their leader seems to be at times.