June 29, 2017 • Life for Leaders
See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
Throughout the opening chapters of Isaiah, we are repeatedly confronted with God’s judgment. Not only the chosen people, but also the pagan nations are condemned for their wickedness. Yet, every now and then, a glimmer of hope shines through the darkness. Isaiah 32:1-2 is such a ray of light. It foresees a time when a righteous king will rule. Under his ultimate authority will be rulers who “rule with justice,” that is, who protect their people rather than exploit them. These leaders provide a context in which their people can flourish rather than be stunted by violence and fear.
Isaiah’s vision surely includes the messianic kingdom, over which Christ rules with justice, righteousness, and peace. It captures an element of our hope for the future, when human authority will be rightly exercised under the sovereignty of Almighty God for the flourishing of the world.
Yet, this vision of leadership can inspire us even today. Most of us are leaders in one context or another, if not several. We are bosses or parents or volunteer coordinators or deacons or elders or Sunday School teachers or teachers or civic officials or… Our leadership in all of these settings will be blessed if we first submit to Jesus, our righteous king. Taking our orders from him and imitating his example, we will seek the best for those who are, as my colleague Scott Cormode observes, “entrusted to our care.” Rather than dominating them, we will strive to lift them up. When they are threatened, we will protect them “like a shelter from the wind” (Isa 32:2). When they are discouraged, we will help them to hope. We will do these things and so many more in the humble attitude of Jesus, the king who reigns in righteousness.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you submitted your life to the King of Kings?
If so, what difference does this make in how you live?
Do you see your leadership as part of your submission to the Lord?
Would those who are entrusted to your care think of you as a shelter and refuge? Why or why not?
Gracious God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, what a privilege it is to serve you! How blessed I am to submit my life to you, to seek your glory in all that I do.
I recognize, Lord, that you have called me into positions of leadership. You have entrusted people to my care. May my leadership be founded on the rock of my submission to you. May I seek to imitate you in all that I do as a leader. Help me, Lord, to learn to be shelter and refuge for those whom I lead, so that they might flourish in their service to you. May I never seek to lord it over them. Teach me how to be their servant even as I am their leader. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Servant Leadership
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.