Go Ye Therefore
Leadership Laws: The Law of E. F. Hutton Part 2
Images of Leadership from Samuel’s Life
- Shepherd The key descriptive word here is relationships. The Bible loves to describe God’s leaders as shepherds. Even the Lord is described as a shepherd (Ps. 23; John 10:11). A shepherd knows, loves, protects, and leads his sheep. Samuel drew from this imagery. He spoke out of relationship. He identified with the people and could be both tough and tender because of this relationship. People listened because of relationship.
- Steward The key word here is responsibility. A steward acts on behalf of an owner, overseeing others and managing possessions. Stewards are accountable to the owner. Jesus taught this principle in Luke 12:42-48. Samuel lived this truth as he confronted kings and peasants, as he wept over the disobedience of Israel, and as he sought guidance for his nation. He remained faithful to his calling, accountable to God, and responsible to people. That is why they listened.
- Seer The key word here is revelation. Leaders must posses a vision and communicate fresh direction to the people. Samuel, like other Old Testament prophets, brought the word of God to bear on contemporary issues. He spoke with divine conviction about past lessons, present situations, and future direction. He moved from being merely a judge to becoming a prophet, speaking with skill as a visionary leader. People listened because of his revelation.
- Servant The key word here is rights. A biblically informed leader gives up his rights instead of gaining them when he reaches the top. Leaders sacrifice for the good of the people they lead. Samuel modeled this as he interceded for Israel, as he made sacrifices on the alter on their behalf, and as he wept for their welfare. Power did not motivate him, but service. People listened because of his servant’s heart.
From Serving to Leading
God calls every leader to be a servant, but not every servant is to be a leader. So, how do we take the step to leadership?
In Hebrew, the world we translate as “leader” (nagiyd) comes from a root that conveys the idea of servanthood and being an example to others. The word is variously translated in Scripture as captain, ruler, prince, governor, and noble.
Leader vs. King
The Hebrew term for “leader” stands in sharp contrast to the word for “king.” The fairly neutral Hebrew term for “king” (melech) allowed for the possibility of independence, for being a maverick. Samuel warned against this very thing when the Israelites asked for a king. Melechs might be renegades, but nagiyds were those under authority, subject to a higher power and fulfilling the wishes of that higher power. Saul was a melech, while Samuel was a nagiyd.
To be a captain, ruler, prince, governor, or noble of the people of God, a person must first come squarely under the authority of God. We can go no further without first understanding this element. Yet a second element is just as important. The Hebrew term nagiyd also means to stand boldly, to announce, to manifest—the natural outgrowth of receiving commands from God. The leader is to boldly stand and communicate God’s commands with conviction.
God’s leader is first to be a servant of the Lord, then an example, then a proclaimer and communicator to the people. And no one did this better than Samuel.
Join me next time for The Law: E. F. Hutton Part 3.