Eighteen years ago, I began an amazing journey in Christian higher education as a program director, associate dean, vice provost and now provost. I have learned lessons of leadership from the best. God gave me directions to study the leadership models of folks from the books of the Bible, where I learned their stories.
At the time, I thought He was leading me to write a devotional journey on leadership to help other leaders. Instead, it was my personal leadership training from God on liberation as a leader on a mission. Who were these people? Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Esther, King Ahasuerus, Haman, Mordecai, Nehemiah, Sanballat and Tobias. Some leadership lessons were models to avoid.
This year, I am learning lessons of leadership from Ruth, Naomi and Boaz. I have learned characteristics and leadership qualities of liberation as they were commissioned to serve a purpose far greater than themselves and impact the lives of others, unknown to them, for a lifetime.
What could I possibly learn about leadership in Ruth? After all, this is a book of the Bible with four chapters, and I focused on a chapter a week for a solid school year. Well, my school year is almost over, and I can’t tell you how many leadership principles I have discovered that are truly liberating. I will share a few and then challenge you with one that will liberate you as you seek to liberate others.
Several of the liberating principles I learned from Ruth, Naomi and Boaz were as follows:
- The value of loyalty, Ruth 1:13
- Pursuit of the right direction, Ruth 1:14
- Obedience, even in uncertainties, Ruth 1:16
- The value of being a good listener, Ruth 2:8
- Purposed favor, Ruth 2:9
- Personal character qualities, Ruth 3:11
- Waiting on direction, Ruth 3:18
- Integrity and righteousness, Ruth 4:7
- Never forgotten, Ruth 4:14
- Liberated to lead for impacting future generations, Ruth 4:21
The greatest lesson I gained from my journey with Ruth is from Ruth 3:5. After receiving directions from Naomi that were very foreign to Ruth, Ruth’s response was, “All that you say to me I will do” (NKJV). How often do we receive directions from the Lord that just don’t make sense and definitely do not appear liberating? What do you do?
Obedience to do as Jesus commissions you is the most liberating experience you could have in ministry. Ruth had no idea that her obedience resulted in being in the lineage of the greatest earthly king to ever live (David) and the King of Kings, Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5-6). Liberation in ministry is a direct result of your obedience to God’s plan that allows you to influence others to impact the world for the kingdom of God for a lifetime. In ministry, liberation becomes the seed of your kingdom legacy. Will you do all Jesus says to you?
- Pray for courage to obey God’s voice, to liberate you to walk in His plan to impact the lives of those you lead, even when it’s difficult.
- Pray that you will see God’s plan beyond what is current and temporal to the human eye, to your influence on what is eternal to the human need.
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