Christian Leadership

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Humility

Walk Humbly Before Him—Take unto you the whole armor of God, and never forget the gospel shoes of peace. Go not to any man with a heavy tread or with anger in your voice. Let all God's servants, from those occupying the highest positions, to those in the lowliest service, walk humbly before Him.—Manuscript 140, 1902. ChL 11.1

A Time For Prayer—Be sure to pray and counsel together before laying your plans, and then, in the Spirit of Christ, push the work unitedly. If one of your number decides that he cannot cooperate with his brethren, and has no desire to work because of differences of opinion, the course to be pursued is without a question. Humble yourselves before God and resort to prayer, for you cannot and must not attempt to work at variance. ChL 11.2

From anyone who persists in stubbornness and self-will, God will remove His Spirit, and another will wear the crown that was for him. God accepts only those who will learn of Christ, those who study His word, learning lessons of meekness and lowliness of heart, lessons of obedience, willingness to do his work in God's way, not their finite way .... ChL 11.3

Love of self, pride and self-sufficiency lie at the foundation of the greatest trials and discords that have ever existed in the religious world. Again and again the angel has said to me, “Press together, press together, be of one mind, of one judgment.” Christ is the Leader, and you are brethren; follow Him. Walk in the light as He is in the light. Those who walk in the footsteps of Christ shall not walk in darkness, but those who draw apart in unsanctified independence cannot have God's presence and blessing in the work .... ChL 11.4

Workers can easily place themselves where divine love and power and wisdom cannot reach them, where they cannot have help in counsel, in difficulties and trials, because they would not understand and rightly appropriate heaven's rich treasure. They would glorify themselves, and think their own ways perfect, and become established in self-righteousness.—Letter 4, 1890 (March 9, 1890 to Brethren in Africa). ChL 11.5

Wisdom from Above—Men are wanted who feel their need of wisdom from above, men who are converted at heart, who understand that they are but sinful mortals and must learn their lessons in the school of Christ before they are prepared to mold other minds. When men have learned to depend on God, when they have faith that works by love, and purifies their own souls, then they will not lay on other men's shoulders burdens that are grievous to be borne.—Letter 83, 1896 (May 22, 1896, To O. A. Olsen). ChL 12.1

Haphazard Leadership—You love praise and excitement and to bring yourself to the front. You care far more for the approbation and praise of men than for the approval of God. You lead others. They do not know where you are leading them neither do you, because you go on haphazard, heedless, impulsive, without sound judgment, or heavenly wisdom. God has warned you. God has counseled you. Have you trembled at His word? Have you resisted temptations? Have you separated yourself more and from worldly influences?—Letter 3, 1882, p. 3 (April 1, 1882). ChL 12.2

God Exalts the Humble—He is most fit to carry responsibilities and command who most resembles God in character,—in goodness, mercy, and staunch loyalty to the cause and work of God. Every one needs now to work for brother, for friend, for neighbor, and for stranger, drawing the mind away from the discouragements that will crowd in. The truth is to be magnified. We must not be surprised at strange movements. No one must seek exaltation. The more humbly we move and work, the more will we be exalted with God. The return of Jesus Christ to our world will not be long delayed. This is to be the keynote of every message.—Letter 39, 1898, p. 13 (March 27, 1898 to Brethren Woods and Miller). ChL 12.3

Time For a Change—There is much for men in responsible positions to learn. When men feel that their ideas are without a flaw, it is time for them to change their position from president to that of a learner. When they think that their ideas, their judgment, should be accepted without question, they show that they are unfit for their position. God sees not as man sees. Whatever position a man may be called to fill, his judgment is not to be regarded as unerring. His entrusted responsibility makes it far more needful than it otherwise would be for him to be free from all egotism, and willing to receive counsel.—Manuscript 55, 1897 (June 3, 1897, “Development of Workers”). ChL 12.4

Extorting Means to be Used in God's Cause—Has there been any of this rejoicing among those who have been given positions of responsibility in the work of God? It is a shame to them, and when they see what an offense their course was to God, they will be filled with shame. The anger of the Lord is kindled against those who can rejoice in the robbery of their fellow men, who extort means to be used for the advantage of the cause. The Lord asks, Who gave these men this authority? The cause of God was dearer to the ones they were robbing, than it was to them. They exercised their ingenuity, a precious talent entrusted to them by God to be used to glorify him, to make it as hard as possible for those who were earnestly and sincerely seeking to do the will of God. In this they manifested the attributes of Satan.—Letter 34, 1899, P. 12 (February 14, 1899). ChL 13.1

Position Does Not Give Holiness—Solomon was never so rich or so wise or so truly great as when he confessed, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.” ChL 13.2

Those who today occupy positions of trust should seek to learn the lesson taught by Solomon's prayer. The higher the position a man occupies, the greater the responsibility that he has to bear, the wider will be the influence that he exerts and the greater his need of dependence on God. Ever should he remember that with the call to work comes the call to walk circumspectly before his fellow men. He is to stand before God in the attitude of a learner. Position does not give holiness of character. It is by honoring God and obeying His commands that a man is made truly great. ChL 13.3

So long as he remains consecrated, the man who God has endowed with discernment and ability will not manifest an eagerness for high position, neither will he seek to rule or control. Of necessity men must bear responsibilities; but instead of striving for the supremacy, he who is a true leader will pray for an understanding heart, to discern between good and evil.—Prophets and Kings, 30, 31. ChL 13.4

Leaders Are Learners—Those who accept a position of responsibility in the cause of God should always remember that with the call to this work God has also called them to walk circumspectly before Him and before their fellow men. Instead of considering it their duty to order and dictate and command, they should realize that they are to be learners themselves. When a responsible worker fails to learn this lesson, the sooner he is released from his responsibilities the better it will be for him and for the work of God. Position never will give holiness and excellence of character. He who honors God and keeps His commandments is himself honored. ChL 14.1

The question which each should ask himself in all humility is: “Am I qualified for this position? Have I learned to keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment?” The Saviour's earthly example has been given us that we should not walk in our own strength, but that each should consider himself, as Solomon expressed it, “a little child.”—Testimonies for the Church 9:282, 283. ChL 14.2

A Fatal Deception--There is a most fearful, fatal deception upon human minds. Because men are in positions of trust, connected with the work of God, they are exalted in their own estimation, and do not discern that other souls, fully as precious in the sight of God as their own, are neglected, and handled roughly, and bruised, and wounded, and left to die.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 357, 358. ChL 14.3

Prominent Characters Special Target For Satan—David knew that it would require humility of heart, a constant trust in God, and unceasing watchfulness, to withstand the temptations that would surely beset Solomon in his exalted station; for such prominent characters are a special mark for the shafts of Satan.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 750, 751. ChL 14.4

Cultivate Humble Dependence—Men whom the Lord calls to important positions in His work are to cultivate a humble dependence upon Him. They are not to seek to embrace too much authority; for God has not called them to a work of ruling, but to plan and counsel with their fellow laborers. Every worker alike is to hold himself amenable to the requirements and instructions of God.-Testimonies for the Church 9:270. ChL 14.5