By: Eddie McFalls

Reflections on Chapter 4 of Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders.

It seems to me that a clear, concise definition of leadership is a bit elusive. I read one great man’s strongly worded phrases and think “that’s it!” Yet, the next paragraph contains another’s comments that seem to illuminate the matter with unsurpassed clarity; until, I read the next glowing characterization of the same term.

Maybe it is because different circumstances call for different methods. But that leans a little too far towards the slippery slope of situational ethics. 

Maybe it is because we focus on a particular goal that we desire (or tolerate – in others or in ourselves) certain types or styles of leadership.

Before I derail the theme altogether let me simply say that Jesus used an array of skills in leadership depending on who and what He dealing with. He could be bold, forthright and even demanding. On the other hand, He was often gentle and longsuffering. 

Dr. Sanders makes an intriguing comment in this chapter when he says, “Spiritual leadership blends the natural and spiritual qualities. Yet even the natural qualities are supernatural gifts, since all good things come from God.” Could it be that any and all gifting of leadership comes from God? Some men have honed their unique gifts and brought Glory to God. Could it be that other men have in the past, and now in the present, perverted those giftings to suit their own fancies? They manipulate the abilities gifted to them by God to honor themselves and with abandon pursue all forms of unrighteousness. Haven’t we all heard an amazed onlooker mumble “that man has such God-given abilities” – despite whether the man’s accomplishments were sterling pure or disappointedly tainted?

The age-old question arises yet again, “Are leaders born or made?” I assure you I don’t have the answer and I don’t think anyone actually does. Maybe we are asking the wrong question. 

What if the more accurate question is really, “Am I using the gifts God has given me to the fullest to honor Him in the highest?” Maybe I should be more concerned with allowing God, and cooperating with God, to bring together all of me – His giftings to me, my upbringing, the shaping of my personality, my life triumphs and failures, the training I’ve accumulated, the culture and timeframe within which I live, His specific call on my life – to produce The Kingdom servant He desires. Maybe that would help me to not compare myself with others so often – I know it’s not wise, I know. Maybe this line of thinking would keep me from being inflated with ego when there is some forward momentum detectable in my life or being deflated by the remarkable things He does in and with others…

Maybe that would help you as well, maybe…?