Qualities of a Spiritual Leader: PATIENCE

This quality brings ballast to the previous quality of anger. Oftentimes my anger flares up because I am impatient. As Hudson Taylor said,

“My greatest temptation is to lose my temper over the slackness and inefficiency so disappointing in those on whom I depend.  It is no use to lose my temper–only kindness. But oh, it is such a trial” (in Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, p.69)

In an effort to put to death anger due to impatience, I have to ask the question: “Who do I depend upon most?” It is easy to look to other people as incompetent and lazy. Yet, I find that if I were to use the same canon to my life, I would become even more enraged. How much time do I twitter away my life. How much time could have been redeemed for good purposes, but instead went to trifles? It is easier to look at others’ issues, indeed it makes us feel better. But be careful that you don’t compare your sin to someone better than you or you will most assuredly fall into depression. Our filter of self-righteousness helps us look to those we perceive we are better than–that we have our program tighter than they. But, double-click on that nasty assumption. You will find that it’s a wormhole taking you deep into a black hole of sin and insecurity.

May leaders find confidence in the Lord and not in their ability. May we therein find patience because we see the patience with which the Lord deals with us and our buffet of sin and shortcomings.

If we don’t start here, then we will find ourselves leading by coercion and not persuasion. By force and not by love. Love doesn’t seek its own. Sanders writes, “When we lead by persuasion rather than command, patience is essential” (p.69). And oftentimes, when we lead with patience, we will find that what we originally wanted was not what was best. We embrace the sovereignty of God and believe that our finite interpretation of how it is will be shaped with time and interaction. That new wing to your building was not as necessary as benevolence to someone in need.

Leader, let patience be your friend and not your adversary.

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