Leading for accolades …
There’s something to be said for the leader who, at first blush, doesn’t seem to want the job.
Take, for example, Moses. He cared deeply about how his people were being treated, to the point he acted so poorly he killed a man. But when God picked him to do something that would change the lives of his people in a profoundly positive way — leading them out of the slavery they suffered under — Moses made excuses as to why he was unqualified for the job. Once he surrendered to God’s call, he would go on to become one of the greatest figures in all the Old Testament.
Esther hesitated. She took a moment to count the cost of stepping out for her people, and then she embraced the risk.
Jonah was honest about something from the start: he didn’t like the people God called him to deliver His message to, and would rather see them face the wrath of God than repent. Lousy attitude, but no pretense.
Then we have the incredible example of the Apostle Paul, a man whose life routinely is an example for us in many ways. Blinded by the light, Saul quickly saw the error of his ways and, as Paul, came back a transformed man whose passion was to serve. Paul wanted to lead because he wanted to be used by God to change as many lives as possible (Col. 1:28-29).
That’s more closely the kind of heart God wants in a leader. Look closely at 1 Timothy 3:1, “This is a trustworthy saying: ‘If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position’.”
Paul points out some people want to be a leader, and that’s not a bad thing. That is, if their desire to lead comes from a proper motivation. Not one that seeks accolades by being out front, but one that pours out the entire life in serving.
With just about any leader we see in scripture who is used in a big way for God, we see their motive at some point aligns with God’s will in order to be used most effectively for Him. They did not seek to lead by accolades, but rather from love for God and others.
Too many leaders today are lured into leadership from a desire for accolades. They stack up the titles of Reverend, Bishop, and any others they can use, and seek to be loved and adored more than pouring out their lives for the sake of others because of love. They care more about their brand and their name being known than being an unknown figure who makes the name of Jesus famous.
Fortunately for the Church, that’s not the case everywhere. Thousands serve in little churches in out-of-the-way places no one has ever heard, just so the few they can love and serve in the name of Christ really do know the love and name of Christ. They desire to lead because they desire to serve.
Leadership was never to be about accolades. If it is for you, you need to re-examine your motives and realign them with the will and heart of God. Otherwise, you really are unqualified to lead.