Has God called you to lead? Has God used you as a leader? That’s great; we give glory to God for using His people to accomplish his purposes. But there are three things (I’m sure there are more) that leaders need to watch out for – especially after being used of God. For this illustration, we’re going to look at Gideon. His story can be found in the book of Judges, chapters 6-8.
1. Expecting “perks”
In the secular world, leaders usually get perks that come with their position: first-class treatment, a reserved parking space and an expense account, just to name a few. If we’re honest with ourselves, many of those perks have manifested themselves in the church as well. Jesus took the Pharisees to task for loving “the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces” (Luke 11.43).
Gideon, after being used mightily of God to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, was offered the top spot in the kingdom.
“Rule over us,” the people said.
“I will not rule over you…the Lord will rule over you.” was Gideon’s answer.
He should have stopped there, but he didn’t. He asked for tribute; he asked for a perk. Tribute is payment that is made to a ruler. Gideon had just declined the top spot, but he wasn’t beyond enjoying the perks. He was already enjoying the spoils of war, but he wanted more. He asked for and received everyone’s gold earrings from their spoil. Have we sought things from others that are beyond the blessing of God?
2. Assuming authority that is not yours
Gideon took the gold – all forty pounds of it – and fashioned it into an ephod. There was only one ephod in all of Israel; it was assigned to the high priest. Gideon was not even a Levite; he had no business with anything that would seemingly connect him with the priesthood. But an ephod he made, and it became an idol to Gideon, his family, and all of Israel. Congratulations Gideon; you’ve just led your nation back down the path that God delivered them from.
As leaders, God gives us authority to accomplish the task he sets before us. Are we seeking to exercise authority in areas where we have not been called?
3. Looking to leave a legacy
The man who would not be king, named his son Abimelech, which means “My father is king.” Gideon succeeded in passing his sense of entitlement on to his son, who in turn, acted on that sense of entitlement by killing seventy of his brothers and seizing the leadership position.
Are we working to do the Father’s will and accomplish his work? Or are we working to make sure that our legacy is secure?
Let us remind ourselves of the example of Christ, who came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20.28).
Let us remember Jesus’ teaching: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23.11)
Let us remember, “when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” (Luke 17.10)