KEY THOT: The word of God commands believers to “remember your leaders”. But the critical issue is: are we worth remembering? Most of us have forgotten the "leaders" who have come and gone because we cannot recall anything worth remembering. But there are also leaders that have made an impact in our lives that we can never forget. These are leaders that are worth recalling for there are things in their lives that have made a deep impression in us that have changed us radically.
But what kind of leaders are these who have made us remember them for life? The writer of Hebrews give us some clues:
- “who spoke to you the word of God”: In secular leadership literature, there is a new realization that leadership goes beyond good management. Leadership must incorporate teachership. A true leader is firstly a great teacher. Consider our Lord Jesus Christ who spent a major portion of his life teaching God’s word. All great leaders (secular or spiritual) who have left a permanent legacy do so by teaching, both through their writing but often through their speaking. It’s no difference for spiritual leaders. It is through our teaching (for better or worse) that our followers adopt our ideas, our convictions and our worldviews to follow them. Great leaders are great teachers.
- “consider the outcome of their life”: However, teaching is not just telling but living. It is the "outcome (outflow) of their life". Teaching that is impactful must flow out of our life, not our library. Real leaders walk their talk and then they talk about their walk. The depth of a leader’s teaching flows out of the breadth of his life experiences, not from the breadth of his library shelves. That means we must only preach what we have practiced. Ezra in the OT is a great example of a leader who practiced before he preached: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). So a great leader is one who teaches what is first tested in his life.
- “imitate their faith”: Leaders are to model a life of faith—of trusting in God for everything in their lives, not just in ministry but also in more "secular" and mundane affairs like his home, his marriage, his professional and his social life. Faith is not something for the weekend when we are in church. Faith ought to be the basic attitude of life for the spiritual leader—whether the leader is a home-maker, a retiree, a business-person, an employee or employer or a civil servant or governmental minister. We need more Christian models in the marketplace who have learned to put faith to work. It is no good to wear the “spiritual” hat for weekend/church and then replace it with the "secular” hat for the homes, offices and factories. We ought to wear the same hat everywhere we go. Our hat must have the words on it which says: “Ambassador of Christ”. We must not be schizophrenic Christians, living “by faith” on weekend but “by sight” on weekdays.
Heavenly Father, help us be the kind of leaders who are worth remembering because we walk our talk and talk about our walk. In Jesus’ name, Amen.