Daily D – Psalm 78:70-72
He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands. PSALM 78:70-72 (NLT)
He shepherded them with a pure heart and guided them with skillful hands.
His good heart made him a good shepherd; he guided the people wisely and well.
Perquisite. This is an interesting word. It is not the kind of word I grew up hearing often in Northeast Texas. It indicates a special right or privilege a person enjoys because of his or her position. The perqs are why some people, maybe even most people, aspire to leadership positions. They want the big bucks, the big bonuses, the big houses, and the big toys. Let’s be honest and say those are not necessarily bad things.
Let’s also agree that the privileges of leadership also bear a more important requirement called responsibility. Libraries and online booksellers are filled with titles on leadership. Find a brick and mortar bookstore and notice how extensive the shelf space is related to leadership. John Maxwell has authored a few dozen titles all by himself. Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge is one of the all-time greats. Jim Collins and Patrick Lencioni are required reading.
It was Collins in particular, along with a handful of others, whose research led to the conclusion that the one characteristic which separates good leaders from great ones is humility. Collins and Maxwell both talk about Level 5 Leaders in these terms. This should not surprise us. One of the best leaders ever was a shepherd boy who grew into a king, and not only a king, but the father of a king, and the head of a dynasty which endures forever through his descendant Jesus.
What were David’s two outstanding leadership characteristics? He had a pure heart and skillful hands.
His pure heart guided his decision making. His skillful hands accomplished his projects and tasks.
Often today we hear of teams seeking their next leaders using four C’s: Character, competence, commitment, and compatibility. Of the four, we are told, the one you most definitely cannot compromise on is character. Look for leaders like David.
David failed this test himself, didn’t he? When you think of David, you think of a couple of incidents in particular including Goliath and Bathsheba. Goliath was the inciting incident launching him into fame and a special future. Bathsheba was the derailing incident which led to a long, slow decline in his fortunes. As famous as his sin is his repentance. When Nathan pointed his boney finger in his direction, David could have had his head removed for his audacity. Instead, he wept. He confessed his sin. He wrote it down (Ps. 51). God preserved it so that you and I would have a model for coming clean about our own sin.
David’s leadership decisions brought healing and strength to God’s people. He united disparate tribes. He provided a place of focus for the nation. He prepared the way for his son to succeed in many more ways than simply sitting in his place on his throne.
The next time you look for someone to step into a leadership role, look for a pure heart and skillful hands. Cultivate these characteristics for yourself. There are always positions and perquisites for those who lead with such a heart and hands.
I will cultivate a pure heart and skillful hands.
Our Father, purify my heart. Cleanse me, scrub me, make me as white as snow. Develop my skills for the projects and tasks before me. Use me to bless your world. Amen.
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Acts 21:10, 11 Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” (NLT)
Acts 20:33-35 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (NLT)
Acts 18:9, 10 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” (NLT)
1 Kings 19:11-13 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (NLT)